This post comes from the folks at Dropsource, who are launching a new Meetup group this week at their offices in Raleigh. More details below.

These days, businesses both large and small are convinced that having a smartphone application is the next key to their prosperity. While there are still very good reasons to have a mobile app in this day and age, there are some situations where going straight to building a mobile app might be premature. In some cases a small business or entrepreneur might be better off focusing on building a better mobile web experience for customers or by first testing an app concept using web technologies before investing in a mobile app.

To figure out if building a mobile app is right in your case, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Will the app be different from your website? If you imagine your app duplicating the exact content and functionality of your already mobile-friendly website, then you probably don’t need a mobile app. Apps that simply mimic websites are frequently forgotten about or uninstalled, or worse, receive negative reviews.
  2. Will your app use advanced mobile features? Native smartphone apps have exclusive functionalities that websites can’t offer your users, such as push notifications, geolocation, and access to the phone’s camera and address book. If you plan on making use of these functionalities, then you definitely need your own app and a native one at that.
  3. Do you need to improve your mobile-friendliness? If you’re seeing a lot of traffic on mobile but your users are complaining about the mobile experience, then it may be wise to develop an app in order to better serve them. At the very minimum, however, you need to improve your mobile web offerings to be more responsive. Further research into what your mobile users want and need may be the best suggestion here, and if they are looking for advanced native features mentioned in question #2, start thinking about building a native mobile app.

If you answered yes to all three of these questions, building an app for your business is a great idea. So, now what?

Come to the Raleigh Dropsource Meetup “I’ve got the next killer app idea: Now what?” on Wednesday 5/31 6:30pm as we’ll be discussing exactly what steps to take to bring your killer app idea to life. RSVP here.