As the final post for the OMS Blog for Developers it is proper that my last words of advice focus on the two things that matter most for successful businesses – asking questions and validating answers. The absence of these two things are most responsible for every failed company, failed app, every project overdue or over budget. For simplicity and general purposes, we can call this Due Diligence. Normally, it aims to take care that everything is as it is supposed to be before investing in it. But, equally, it can apply to taking corrective action on problems as they arise.
It is rational that if you are going to invest weeks and months into developing a mobile app to expect something for your effort, above and beyond completing the app itself. Just because you have an idea for an app does not mean it is worth your time. Thus, it is desirable to have multiple app ideas to choose from and some fixed basis to compare them against. If you are just starting out in mobile app development, than simply breaking even might be your control point. Conversely, you could compare it against your hourly wage for your present or previous job.
You want options, just like all investors do – whether it is on the stock market, commodities, gold, BitCoin, real estate? Use Decision Points to help walk you through the process of deciding which app idea is best for you.
Far more questions should arise after you have decided upon your next app project. On the technical side, these will include things like user interface, graphics, layout and design, features and making sure everything works as is intended. These are all important, but they only bring you the potential to compete with other apps. Nothing more.
How are you going to monetize your app? In app advertising is perhaps the easiest option, but it is by no means the only option. Even if you are working on your first mobile app or may not have a lot of experience with sophisticated payment systems, you do have a variety of options to choose from, some of which may have nothing to do with the app itself.
This may well bring you to question who else is out there that might benefit from your app? Many small and medium-sized businesses are looking for ways to benefit from the mobile market, too. Why not try to combine efforts or convince one to help sponsor your app?
From the point you start working on an app to long after you’ve published it, keep asking questions. Is it performing according to your expectations? How could it perform better? Why is it not making more money? Or perhaps you want to move on to something completely different, do you just want to let your app fade into history, or perhaps license it to someone else?
My hope is that you will turn to the Opera Mobile Guide for Developers to help you find answers to your questions and give you ideas for more questions you may not have asked yet. In many cases, the answers will require research. Getting an accurate answer may not always be possible, until after the fact, because even the best app may fail to take off – if only because someone else had a similar idea at the same time and had more people, time and money to market it. Knowledge is power, so the more questions you ask and the better you validate the answer, the more likely you are to succeed.
Simply, never stop asking questions – they are in the spirit of competition to make things faster, better, more efficiently, more profitably, and better serve the interests of end-users.
The Internet’s fundamental purpose is to help people communicate information. That information could be a simple message, a picture, a video or a computer program. With so much information being shared, it is not always easy to find what you need – in a timely manner and usable format. This includes finding others who need what you have. Here, we’ll take aim at some tools to help you find… anything.
Four points apply to how efficient you can be at finding what you need:
That fourth point is especially important when it comes to Twitter, Facebook, other social media, and the ever expanding Internet of Things.
One thing I’ve always advocated is spending at least 15 minutes every day in “research” – regardless of what you do, what your job is, or how well your business is doing. Fifteen minutes = 1% of your day. Per the Pareto Principle, theoretically that 1% of effort may be responsible for over 50% of your total results. Automating manual searches across multiple “networks” (or boxes in the above analogy) is a 100x force multiplier.
Time is valuable – 15 minutes a day equates to over 90 hours a year, more than two full work weeks focused just on evaluating qualified “information.” Considering that “information” could include “who needs what you have” – in a timely manner, your competitiveness and marketability increases exponentially.
IFTTT is an unbelievably powerful, extremely easy to use tool that can give you near NSA-level omniscience about… anything.
With “IF This Then That” you define what you are looking for and if it happens – an “action” will be generated. That action could be to email you (and up to 4 more addresses), or any number of other options depending upon the specific you channels you define – Twitter, Blogger, Reddit, YouTube, Office 365 & Office Calendar, Instagram, DropBox, iOS and Android wearables, GE devices, even eBay and over 160 other different channels are available. The reverse is also possible, that is – if you do “x” then “y” will automatically happen.
Thus, if someone references you on Twitter, you can get an email about it; if someone posts a specific product on eBay, you can get notice of that, too. That’s just one option of many, depending on each channel you define. IFTTT helps you spend less time searching for stuff and more time acting on relevant things.
Some of you may be familiar with Google Alerts — notifying you of whenever something new on the web matches your “key word” query is published. That is just one of potentially thousands of applications IFTTT is able to deliver because it does the same thing for nearly 200 different channels including elements of the Internet of Things.
IFTTT was referred to me by HeroicSearch.com’s super innovative PR Team. Their latest blog post has the potential to make you exponentially more effective with your work, your business, or anything else. It is that good… if not better.
[Editor’s Note – This is a guest article by Mark Feldman, Chief Technical Officer at Findmyshift, an employee scheduling service for managers, founders, and owners. He blogs about SaaS marketing, productivity, and management. Find Findmyshift on Twitter, or try out their Excel scheduling template for free.]
Most businesses and marketers setup Twitter accounts, gain a few followers, and do nothing else. At the other end of the spectrum, some people spend hours each day managing their Twitter accounts in order to maximize their effectiveness.
While you definitely can’t afford to let your Twitter account wither away and die, you certainly don’t want to spend the better part of each day tweeting, retweeting, and attracting followers. Luckily, with a little automation, you can have a thriving Twitter following and maximize your lead generation and monetization efforts.
Twitter is an amazing place ripe with opportunities for modern businesses and marketers, so let’s take a look at how you can maximize your Twitter efficiency without being glued to your Twitter feed every minute of every day!
Both businesses and individuals can achieve amazing success with Twitter if they’re able to understand the network and how to effectively manage their accounts. Unfortunately, in order to do so, most people find themselves dedicating endless man hours at the expense of other areas of their business.
Recognizing this, companies have created some incredibly helpful automation tools designed to take stress and time out of the Twitter equation. There are many helpful Twitter management tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and TweetDeck that have varying benefits and capabilities, but here’s a look at what some of these tools can do:
As you can clearly see, third-party Twitter automation tools can be extremely helpful for anyone looking to maximize their Twitter effectiveness and efficiency. After all, what’s not to like about tools that can help you automate and manage important daily Twitter activities?
However, you need to exercise caution when using these automation tools, because it’s far too easy to let them run unchecked and potentially tarnish your brand or have your account suspended as a result.
As touched upon above, one of the major challenges of effective Twitter marketing is supplying your following with a consistent stream of content, even with automation tools. Therefore, you may want to consider recycling your posts by making simple little changes to each one.
I know what you’re thinking: “Wouldn’t that lower my follower engagement?” Believe it or not, when done right, the engagement of your followers will likely be the same with recycled posts as brand new posts.
However, reposting the same tweets over and over throughout the day can be quite messy and time-consuming. To remedy this, you can create a content library with various tweet variations to save valuable time (see more about a Twitter archive here). You can even take it one step further by including these tweet variations in a spreadsheet and uploading them to your Twitter tool of choice, making your Twitter content curation as hands off as possible.
Tip: When recycling tweets, it’s important for businesses and individuals to use “Evergreen” content, rather than temporal content or content revolving around current events. This allows the content to be naturally reused over and over again.
Although a number of your Twitter management functions can be automated, there are certain functions that shouldn’t be automated, including:
Your time is too precious to spend performing endless Twitter tasks that can be automated and allow your Twitter presence to run efficiently. By implementing these automation strategies, you’ll be able to cut your Twitter management time from five hours per account per day to less than 30 minutes for multiple accounts. Talk about maximizing your Twitter efficiency!
You don’t have to be a developer to get useful information and ideas from the OMS Guide for Mobile App Developers. The guide is written to help developers monetize their apps and build their business, but a lot of the same principles apply to any venture and almost any career – even if they have absolutely nothing to do with mobile apps. Most businesses are still concerned with reaching more customers and being more competitive in their market. Cool things happen by exploring possibilities – let’s explore some that might be interesting for you!
Many posts in the OMS Guide are useful to anyone whether it relates to defining your breakeven point, having mentors or having a press kit, to name a few. Many aspects of mobile are useful for your business as may relate to mobile advertising, mobile friendly web sites, cross promotions, developer newsletters, content licensing, and more. Third, there are considerations about what a mobile app could do for your business – which does not necessarily mean that you need to develop an app from scratch.
Becoming the mobile “lead” in your company. One of the fastest ways to advance in any company is to find something that you can do, that the company needs but is not doing – and offering it. How that is done may vary from one company to the next. Some companies may require an action plan, cost-benefit analysis, a prototype or maybe something more. It is good to talk with management to see what they need. For many small companies, simply volunteering to fill a needed, vacant, function is enough.
Be an SME – Subject Matter Expert on Mobile and the Internet of Things for your company if it does not already have one. The most important aspect of this role is to understand the value it could have for your company. For most small businesses, it is only a matter of time before your expertise will be needed.
Apt App Questions. First, there is the exploration itself – asking questions and embarking to find the answers. What can IT do for you? Let IT be anything – information technology, mobile apps, mobile advertising or even holograph technology. How are others making use of IT?
For every problem, there is a solution. Most of the problems of any business today have already been solved by other businesses. In most cases, the solution is to adopt what others have done to solve problems for their business and modify it to your business. There is no need to constantly reinvent the wheel – we merely need to keep modifying the wheels to the vehicle using them. Every business is unique, so adaptation is necessary.
Look Around. You may not know exactly what you are looking for, but if you are not looking you probably won’t find it. This is a big part of competitive analysis – looking at what others are doing to see if you need it or can do it better. A huge world full of ideas, innovations and solutions awaits discovery with more innovations and new applications of old ideas being invented every day. It is hard to keep up with everything but the more you keep an eye open the more likely you are to see trends that can help position your company to be ahead of the bellcurve for adopting “new technologies” and applications for them.
Talk. Everyone needs a feedback loop – especially programmers and developers. Making it a point to develop friends with them is good for both of you. Programmers and developers are the people best able to tell electronic devices what we want the devices to do. The people who are involved in the other aspects of a business depend upon them to “translate” what we need to the electronic devices. They know the limits of the devices or at least are able to test those limits.
This dialogue will help you see different applications as easy or difficult. By knowing the things that can be done easily and with minimal expense you are in a better position to present different ideas and projects to the management in your company. Not understanding the complexity involved in a project can lead to additional expenses which can undermine future confidence in your proposals.
Is Mobile for You? Your questions are welcome! You do not need to be a programmer or developer to benefit from an expanded knowledge and awareness of mobile or related technologies. Up through 2004, many companies held that the Internet was just a fad – that eventually people would tire of it and move on. They were right in a sense, but more in that technology would continue to advance to offer people more things to move on to. Some have held that mobile is something different than the internet, others simply that they are the merely the same thing viewed differently from a big screen or a small screen.
If you are following tech news – how we will see and interact with “everything” 10 or 20 years from now gets even more interesting and complex. At the very least, it is a pretty safe bet that people are not going to put down their mobile devices to go back to manual typewriters. If Mobile Is as it is now – how much more will it be tomorrow?
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We recently started a series of articles to introduce people not involved with mobile apps to consider their potential value and possible roles in working with mobile app developers. Mobile development and marketing are only two components of the much broader matter of Doing Business.
These articles might prompt you to consider connecting with others for the knowledge, skills and experience they can provide you – to make your apps more competitive, address pay wall issues, or begin acquiring some operating capital for marketing/advertising and further development.
Mobile is still new enough that there are a lot of business savvy people out there who might actively use mobile devices and apps, but don’t know how or where they could possibly fit in. Doing business in mobile is not all that different from any other kind of business. There are some differences, but many of them apply to making Mobile much easier than both brick and mortar, as well as conventional internet related businesses. However, that ease – that low barrier to entry gives rise to a much greater level of competition, same problem if of a different magnitude.
Fundamentally, almost every problem we encounter has been encountered by someone else before. More often than not, those problems have reliable solutions. Consequently, it is of great potential value to get people with different interests, skills, experience and perspective to begin connecting and talking with one another!
Let us know what you think of the first three articles in the series, in the comments below or on LinkedIn!
These are part of a series of articles to introduce people not involved with mobile apps The “best of” articles posted on LinkedIn will be curated and integrated into the OMS Guide.