Let’s say you want to give your small business a mobile presence. You’d like to develop some mobile apps, but you don’t have the time, money, or technical skills to do it yourself, and you’re not too excited about the idea of paying a developer an armload to do it for you. Of course, on the other hand, you may be willing to pay a little more of a premium to have someone else do the work for you, work with you directly, and walk you through the process, customizing your app as you go.
That’s the essence behind Bizness Apps, a California startup founded by a couple of college friends, which wants to make it easy for small businesses to develop their own mobile apps. (Read our prior coverage here.) Beginning with its launch in 2010, Bizness Apps has developed a white label program, or a mobile app company in a box, to let individuals and companies use its platform to build mobile apps for existing clients or SMBs in their local area.
Because the software is white-labeled, resellers are able to set their own price and include a set up fee to accommodate for consulting with local businesses in person — for that extra element of hand-holding, when necessary. Bizness Apps has resellers all over the globe (in just nine months, the startup was reaching 1,000 applications, in 10 languages, and over 20 countries) that go into businesses in person, ask questions, design the app, teach them the platform, and manage everything for a premium fee.
But even for resellers, Bizness Apps’ prices are pretty low, starting at 65 percent off. And that’s one of the startup’s big value propositions — while most app builders require upfront set-up fees as high as $2,000, Bizness Apps lets SMBs develop mobile apps for either iOS or Android, starting at $39, while those looking to do both pay $59. Users can also create mobile experiences for the Web on iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile etc., going native or HTML5 for an extra $10 a month.
It’s pretty affordable, and if SMBs aren’t happy with their product, Founder Andrew Gazdecki says they’ll build it for them. While many app builders are designed for developers or graphic designers, Bizness Apps targets the non-technical and the small business owners alike. Thus, using its service doesn’t require any programming knowledge, and it offers features that are designed to help SMBs attract new customers and retail loyal ones — with the likes of loyalty coupon systems, mobile food ordering, a mobile shopping cart, one-touch calling, push notifications, and so on.
This functionality has seen the young startup gain some great traction early on — impressive considering the founders are all under 25 and have only raised $100K. The startup is now powering over 3,000 apps worldwide, and recently reached a $1 million dollar annual run-rate.
Today, Bizness Apps is adding even more customization options to its app builder, as it launches “Bizness Apps Premium”, with the goal of enabling SMBs to take full control over their app’s look and feel. The new Premium plan offers customization of an app’s layout, colors, buttons, header, icons, fonts, and it won’t cost users anything extra.
Of course, Bizness Apps is not the only startup out there offering DIY mobile apps. Readers also may want to check out Cashew, which lets you build your own apps for iOS and Android and preview them on your mobile device — or AppsGeyser, a free, DIY service that allows users to convert any web content into apps for Android, and monetize that content.
There’s also the Italian startup, Apps Builder, which also looks to enable businesses to quickly create mobile apps and monetize their content by selling it or inserting ads. But the real differentiator for Apps Builder is its WordPress plugin that allows bloggers and site administrators to convert their content into native apps for iOS, Android, and the Web.
It’s free, self-service, and founder Daniele Pelleri tells us that the startup recently released its new CMS, which enables users to download a zip file, as they would for WordPress, and host the CMS directly on their own servers — to provide that higher level of security not always native to reselling programs. Apps Builder’s entire service, too, is pretty affordable, starting at $19 per month.
There are some great options out there for individuals and small businesses looking for affordable, non-technical ways to build their own native and web mobile apps. Check ’em out.