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Local Apps: How Small Businesses Are Using Web & Mobile Apps

Apps. From websites to tablets, they’re everywhere. In fact, there were 2.9 million apps in the google play store as of July 2020 (Statista) and a whopping 4.4. Million apps in the Apple App Store. With so many apps available, their functions vary widely. From practical applications that help track calories for weight loss to less practical niche topics, such as this app that literally does nothing. But not all apps are designed with personal use in mind. In fact, the biggest impacts apps are having on the world may just be in the world of small and local businesses in the form of local apps.

Over the past decade, we have all become accustomed to web applications and customer portals from large businesses. But what we have been seeing over the past couple of years is that local businesses have started to adopt them as well. These smaller entities are utilizing applications to improve all areas of their operations, including scheduling, payroll, and customer experience. Let’s take a look at some of the more practical and effective ways these businesses are employing apps to save time and money.

Accounting

If you own a business, accounting is almost assuredly involved. The process of financial recording was one of the first applications of computerization in the workplace, and it has remained one of the most common computer-assisted tasks to date – it may actually be increasing. A Sage survey found that 90% of respondents felt there is a cultural shift towards technological adaptation. These sentiments weren’t only from ust large businesses. Statista found that nearly 2 out 3 small and mid-sized businesses are incorporating accounting software to streamline their accounting processes.

The most glaring advantage is efficiency. Applications are able to quickly calculate and complete tasks. These completed tasks also minimize simple errors in accounting procedures that humans are prone to make. Finally, apps enable accounting on the go. Apps release clear, transparent accounting information via reporting features that are accessible anywhere and at any time. Perfect for owners that may not always be in one place at any given time.

Time Management

One of the greatest constraints facing businesses is – wait for it – time. When you work as many hours in a day as many local business owners do (read: all of them), finding ways to manage your workload is imperative to keeping operations running smoothly. Luckily, there’s an app for that! 

For many service-based businesses, such as dental or repair services, the correct scheduling of client appointments is a critical aspect of keeping the business healthy. Custom, local apps can track and schedule appointments, but they often act as so much more than a mobile calendar. These applications allow for the tagging of tasks, which allow for filtering and prioritization. Additionally, contact information, notifications, and other valuable notes can be easily accessed on the fly. 

Customer Experience

As any successful business owner can tell you, customer experience is vital to long-term success. From providing accurate information quickly to decreasing service time, the customer experience often determines the average customer lifespan. Small business owners have taken to a variety of commercial and custom applications to increase their customer lifespan and thus increase their average customer value. To be more specific, The Chamber of Commerce reports that 42% of all small businesses use mobile apps with the percentage increasing to 55% when looking at small businesses owned by millennials.

Of particular note, small businesses are making use of customer relationship management (CRM) applications to enhance customer support. With the help of these database-like applications, customer information, including order and payment history, can be brought up instantly. CRM has proven to be so convenient that 91% of all businesses with over 11 employees are using them. That time saved ends up transferring to money saved, with a Nucleus Research study finding that sales teams that utilized CRMs made back $8.71 for every $1 spent their CRM services.

Local Apps for Human Resources

Let’s not forget about the employee! While smaller businesses may not have legions of employees to manage, for small employers, managing payroll, hours, and benefits can prove to be a time consuming endeavor. And even before that, finding and then maintaining candidates that are a good match for a company is a challenge all in itself. 

Employee self-service portals (ESS) are the most common local HR apps in the workplace today. ESS are web portals that can be either built into a website or accessed via mobile devices. At their core, ESS portals allow for a greater level of autonomy on the part of the employee. This helps simplify employee data management and retrieval for everyone involved. ESS portals accomplish this feat by allowing employees to request time off, elect benefits, check their work stats, and log their own hours and work progress. You may also be wondering if employees will be resistant to adapt. But research shows that employees tend to want ESS implementation in their place of work. This Paychex survey concluded that the majority of respondents wanted ESS apps in their workplace by nearly a 2 to 1 margin.

Get Your Own Custom Web or Mobile App

Does your local business needs its own local app? Perhaps an employee self-service app? Or are you looking to minimize payroll or accounting errors? Our web and app developers know that not all businesses are the same. Our team works with you to understand your business and its needs to provide easy to use and implement applications.

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