The pros and cons of a mobile-only startup

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In this day and age, just about everyone has some kind of mobile device. As soon as they learn how to talk, many young children are already asking their parents for a smartphone. As a result, most young adults know how to use mobile devices to do just about everything — from paying bills to ordering takeout. So, why not use a mobile device to launch a startup, too?

The truth is that modern smartphones and tablets can do just as much (or almost as much) as many traditional laptops and desktops. As a result, many young entrepreneurs are launching their new business ventures with a phone in hand — and not much else. According to Bill Wilson from MindSea, “it’s all about mobile.” In his article, he outlines his 6 reasons why more startups are going mobile-first. While there are several advantages to launching a mobile-only startup, there are also some notable drawbacks. So, let’s take a look at the most important pros and cons of launching and running a mobile-only startup!

Pro: You Can Take Advantage of the Latest Tech Trends

While traditional computers have improved tremendously over the last few years, most tech R&D has been dedicated to mobile devices and applications. Every year, tech developers find new ways to make your phone work for you through longer battery life, more storage, and greater processing power, just to name a few. Additionally, mobile apps are quickly replacing traditional computer software for many businesses. Need to process a credit card transaction or check how your investments are doing? There’s definitely an app for that.

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Con: There’s Still Some Things Mobile Devices Can’t Do

Do you need to make a spreadsheet with a lot of information? Do you need to write long-form blog articles? Do you need to set up a private server? Or do you need to do some serious coding for your startup’s website? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, a mobile-only operation may not be able to provide you with everything you need. While phones or tablets can technically handle most of the tasks listed above, it might be more difficult to manage without application development. Ultimately there are solutions like outsourcing to SaaS development companies.

Pro: Your Startup Lives in Your Pocket

Launching a mobile-only startup means that you have access to all of your businesses’ vital information at all times. As long as your phone has some battery power left, you can schedule meetings, view analytics and KPIs, send invoices, answer emails, or do whatever you need to do to keep your new business up and running. Long gone are the days of telling impatient clients, “you’ll have to wait until I can get back to the office.”

Con: Your Startup Lives in Your Pocket

No, you’re not going crazy and that isn’t a typo. By nature, mobility is one of the biggest assets of a mobile-only operation. However, it can also be a liability when you’re ready to clock out and enjoy some free time. Most people have trouble turning off their phones completely or even just ignoring notifications. Moreover, you may feel that you’re missing out on important information if you’re not checking your phone at all times. While you can partially solve this problem by having both a work phone and a personal phone, this will increase your upfront costs.

Pro: Mobile Devices Cost Less

Most new startups lack capital in the beginning. Even if you are lucky enough to find an angel investor or acquire a business loan, you’ll still want to find ways to keep expenses low. Fortunately, you can get high-quality mobile devices for a fraction of the cost of high-quality laptops or desktops. Additionally, maintaining mobile devices for the long-term is generally cheaper than paying for computer repairs or upgrades.

Con: Your Startup May Look Less Professional

If you’re a 20-something trying to make a business pitch to potential investors, you’ll want to look as professional as possible. Unfortunately, many business investors are wary of businesses that don’t seem organized or equipped to grow. Just working off of your smartphone might give some investors the impression that you don’t take your startup very seriously. However, this will ultimately come down to each startup and each investor. If you can still make yourself look professional and ready for business with the tools at hand on a smartphone, go for it!


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