For small businesses looking to expand their horizons, a simple website is no longer enough. That doesn't mean the Internet is not still a necessary place of business – quite the opposite. But in order to stay ahead of the curve and compete with larger, more established enterprises, small companies should look to develop their own mobile app for smart phones.

Apps encroaching on Internet's usage
 According to The Wall Street Journal, on average, users are spending more time on apps than they are on the Internet. On smart phones, people spend 86 percent of their time in applications compared to only 14 percent on the web, mobile-analytics company Flurry discovered. As that gap widens, it is likely that consumers will turn to mobile apps for shopping and business needs.

"In a lot of tech processes, as things decline a little bit, the way the world reacts is that it tends to accelerate that decline," Chris Dixon, venture capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz, told The Wall Street Journal. "If you go to any Internet startup or large company, they have large teams focused on creating very high quality native apps, and they tend to de-prioritize the mobile Web by comparison."

Small companies should consider developing an app of their own to stay competitive among a consumer base that increasingly favors convenience, speed and consolidation.

How to integrate mobility into a business
When a small business does decide to build its own app, there are a few items to consider, according to Cygnis Media. Before they dive in headfirst, they should develop an outline and plan out how exactly the program will be implemented, how it will help their consumers and how it will help their business. There are things to keep in mind:

  • The app is its own medium: Companies should not use a mobile app to regurgitate their website's information. Instead, they should consider it an entirely different enterprise. That's because mobile platforms are sophisticated and advanced – they allow businesses to provide unique, creative, aesthetically interesting content.
  • Build a coordinated front: Even though apps are unique, they should still represent the brand in the same way that the website and other marketing tools do. Businesses should unite their strategy across all devices and platforms.
  • Don't over-think it: Consumers appreciate simplicity. Content should be as straightforward as possible, with ample graphics and simple navigation.

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