Have you ever dreamed of creating your own smartphone app, but have limited or no coding skills? Today, it’s easier for you to turn your dream into reality – thanks to the ever-available tools, such as AppInstitute.
Ian Naylor has his eureka moment back in 2009, just at the beginning of the app revolution. He thought that it will be wonderful to enable people to use a Content Management System (CMS) to create an app, instead of the conventional website. He then decided to go all out in pursuing his idea, launching a tech startup, AppInstitute.
In this Q&A, Ian Naylor, CEO & Founder of AppInstitute, shares his story – and more. Check it out:
Q: Tell us about AppInstitute and what solution it aims to provide?
A: Our Business Apps CMS provides an easy to use platform for creative industries, SMEs and individuals to build their own smartphone app for android and apple devices. Using our intuitive drag and drop CMS interface, anyone can build a mobile app for their business without the need for any coding or tech skills, simply select one of our popular business app templates or build an app from scratch in minutes.
We’ve created 20 core modules that can be customized and adapted to suit every business need, from product shopping, secure messaging, custom forms, custom quizzes, geo directory, video and image gallery, food ordering, in-line html browsers, social media integration and loyalty program. Users have the ability to design their own layout, customize colors and brand their app using logos and images so the possibilities are endless.
In addition to this, the cloud-based platform gives users full control to update their content 24/7, send Push Notifications and view and respond to customers’ actions from the App.
Whatever your business type, a mobile app can help you stay connected with your customers, promote services, improve brand perception, enhance communications and increase your sales and bookings.
Q: What was the inspiration behind your business?
A: I was working in a tech incubator company in Sydney Australia. One of the ideas we incubated and ended up being very successful with (it was used by clients such as Yahoo Australia) was a web-based Content Management System (CMS), to allow the easy creation of niche, high editorial websites, without any tech skills. This was in 2009, just at the start of the iPhone and AppStore revolution, and one day I had an “Aha moment”, that wouldn’t it be cool if our CMS could build apps, rather than websites. Within three months I left my position (Vice President) of the business and spent the next 12 months hunkered down in Thailand working on concepts. Once the concept was refined and focus refined to the SME market I moved back to the UK to start the business, and haven’t looked back since.
Q: How does your company and your product stand apart from the competition?
A: Technology is relatively easy to replicate, but people, passion and our culture, much less so. Whilst customers choose us for our tech, they love us, recommend us, and stay with us, for our service and enthusiasm for their success.
Q: Please describe a few of the necessary characteristics that a successful entrepreneur must have?
- Belief in your own abilities to get things done, and the vision you have.
- Ability to clearly communicate your vision to others, if you can’t get anyone else to buy into that you’re a one-man-band, not an entrepreneur.
- Multi-skill. Starting-up and running a business, especially in the early days means where a lot of hats and multi-tasking, the more skill sets you can grasp the easier this will be.
Q: What is the most significant emerging trend in you industry and how are you planning to adapt to it?
A: As a consumer myself, I get really excited about businesses being able to offer just in time loyalty and reward offers, such as the Geo Fencing Push Notification discounts and coupons. I think we all love a bargain, and providing small businesses with the tools that previously have only been made available to big businesses, with big budgets, is extremely gratifying, and of course I love taking advantage of these offers as well.
Q: Tell us about the worst business mistake you’ve made?
A: The worst mistake I’ve made with previous businesses was not to bring in seasoned advice, in the form of a non-executive director/chairman. Someone who ideally has industry experience, but more importantly can provide advice from a different advantage point of your business, a step away from the day-to-day. Its all to easy to get sucked into the detail, and not see the wood for the trees, a NED will help with this.
Q: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from launching your business?
A: The biggest lesson has been to “get out of the building,” to stop assuming you know what your customers want, and instead go out and speak to them.
Q: What is your favorite quote for entrepreneurs?
A: Just do it. Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness.
Q: Finally, give us your best piece of advice for prospective entrepreneurs?
A: Always look for a problem that needs solving, rather than simply something interesting to you personally. Personal passion is important, but impassioned customers are king. The lean startup methodology can help validate this.