If you’re a small app developer, the lesson is clear: Going it alone is great and could be very fulfilling, but leaning on an established partner can often mean a faster path to success.
That’s what a group of regional developers targeting the local guidebook sector quickly learned. The developers are all using TownWizard software, the creation of entrepreneurs Mike Ragsdale and Jeff Armstrong, to quickly create mobile app guides for their respective communities. Their approach—which stemmed from their own development of an app designed to be a tourist’s guide to a resort area in the Florida panhandle—is to give budding developers the tools they need to create a solid app that can get out there quickly.
Much of the appeal of a templated approach to app development is the price: The TownWizard platform costs less than $800 to launch, plus a monthly fee of about $250—which gets you apps compatible with iPhone and Android OSs, plus web and marketing support. TownWizard currently has 100 partners, but they haven’t come anywhere near spreading out to all the available locations still longing for a local guidebook app.
The templated approach obviously won’t work for every app development effort, but it’s one of those platform that can make anyone an app developer. It’s doing just that for TownWizard, with users of the template ranging from stay-at-home moms to large media companies.
For established (and incoming) app developers, the message is twofold: One, don’t overlook the possibilities (lower cost, quicker time-to-market, less complexity) offered by an app template—it may work for some efforts. And two, don’t underestimate the competition—as apps get simpler and cheaper to develop and deploy with platforms like this one, the next competitive threat could be coming from anywhere.