The App Development Toolbox for Startups

Tools for Startups

Not long ago, the only type of online presence necessary for a small business owner was an online homepage.

Today, it seems like your company needs to have a Facebook, an Instagram, and a Twitter before you ever get a bump in traffic.

But rather than marketing your product on somebody else’s mobile app, why not create your own mobile app?

Building an app is similar to building a house. You don’t need a degree in to build a startup, but you do need to have the correct tools.

Foundation: Codal

Much like the way that a new building can constructed on the foundation of a demolished house, you can use the mapping of your company’s homepage as a template for your mobile app.

Now you need to figure out how to get the lumber to the foundation, and you’re going to need a truck for that. Codal Software is your truck, and it’s a truck that’s been firing on all cylinders for seven years with no signs of wear.

As a mobile app development agency, Codal can handle full-stack development, but if you already have a strong website foundation for your mobile app, you should be able to get a reduced price estimate.

Wiring: LiveChat

The electrical wiring in your house is what allows you to communicate with the outside world.

LiveChat is your wiring, and guess what: they handle all of the difficult customer support for you. If your business is operated from your garage or from a one-room office, you can probably get-by on the $16 per month starter plan.

The alternative to LiveChat is ZenDesk. ZenDesk charges only $5 month per customer support agent. Unlike LiveChat, “ZenDesk doesn’t go down when the app crashes” says Codal’s lead engineer Anil Shahu.

The Blueprint: LucidChart

If you try to build a house without a blueprint, you’re going to have a bad time.

If you try to build a website (or an app) without a DoGo map, you’re also going to have a bad time.

Not sure what a DoGo Map is? Here’s a quick primer course.

It isn’t difficult to read Dogo Maps, but creating the perfect DoGo map for your app may require some user experience research services.

If you’ve got time and patience to spare, you could certainly perform user experience research on your own. However, considering that LucidChart will perform continuous quality assurance on your map for less than $10 a month, it’s much simpler to trust the professionals.

Windows: CrazyEgg

When you install windows on your house, you can use them to see the outside world.

When you install Windows on your computer, you can (slowly) boot the device (Perhaps you should exit the stone age and try Linux).

Similar to the windows of a house, CrazyEgg allows you to observe the tendencies of browsers in your domain. For $9 a month, CrazyEgg will track up to 10,000 clicks and track them on a heatmap.

CrazyEgg

Above heatmap courtesy of CrazyEgg

Garage: Box

Having a garage is like having a storage unit attached to your house that your friends will inevitably store their bikes in.

Cloud storage app ”Box” is like a virtual garage for your development team to store all of their files in. Box has automatic integration for most major document platforms, including Google Drives and Microsoft Word. The starter plan goes for $5 a month for secure file storage and collaboration.

Of course, if you’re a full stack developer, you won’t find much use for box unless you’re outsourcing your projects.

Paperwork: Wave Accounting

Widely considered to be the bane of every project, paperwork is often what stands between you and the hands-on construction.

Enter the Wave Accounting App.

Unless you’ve taken an accounting class recently, drudging through paperwork is isn’t going to be a very time efficient endeavor.

Wave Accounting offers invoicing, receipt scanning, and accounting software absolutely free.

Monthly payroll services go for $4 per employee plus $15 base charge for each month. Credit card commision rate is 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction.

Below image courtesy of Wave Accounting.

MozPricing

Driveway: Moz

If you don’t have a path to your house, your guests probably won’t know where to go.

Search engines such as Google or Bing act as paths for browser to potentially reach your site or app. Companies that provide search engine optimization make your website more visible online. Essentially, you’re paying for publicity to your site.

Codal CEO Keval Baxi lends a glowing review of Moz, particularly because Moz is a “self learning software, and you do not need to pay training fees or setup fees”.

The first month of Moz comes free. Each month after is $149, but you have to opportunity to unsubscribe if you don’t think that the boost in traffic for the first month.

Paint: Uberflip

Painting a poorly built house won’t prevent it from collapsing in five years, but at least passers by think that the house is top-notch.

UberFlip is like the paint on your house. The flash integration for your links will add the “Shock and Awe” factor, but just like with anything else, it all starts with content.

Perhaps the most useful upgrade to your site or app that Uberflip offers is the Form Overlay picture to the right. The form overlay allows users to enter information into your website securely without having to open a new tab or window.

If you have a lot of PDFs on your site, you’ll really appreciate the way that Uberflip transforms your static vertical scrolling PDF into a horizontal flipbook. Not only is the horizontal orientation more browser friendly, but it also is compatible with more mobile devices than your standard PDF would be.

Conclusion: App Development Takes Time

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and unless you personally know Steve Wozniak, your app won’t be built in a day either.

If you feel comfortable using all the tools listed to create your app, the web is your oyster.

Otherwise, you would be wise to enlist a professional full stack mobile app developing agency to produce your app for you.