Launch a killer app that thousands of customers will pay to use? It’s a dream for scores of wannabe digital entrepreneurs, and a reality for just the small group who’ve managed to develop something that fulfils a genuine, unmet need.
Melbourne entrepreneur Chris Strode sits in the latter camp, courtesy of the stunning success of Invoice2go, the financial app he launched in 2009.
Used to issue on-the-spot invoices by more than 200,000 small business folk globally, Invoice2go is sold on volume-based subscription.
Its popularity and potential helped score the company a $US35 million ($48.5 million) venture capital injection from Accel Partners last year and propelled Strode onto the BRW Young Rich List for the first time.
So why has Invoice2go has soared while other apps have sunk without trace?
Here are five reasons.
Diving instructors, mechanics, plumbers… Invoice2go users, all. Developing an offering that has universal, rather than niche, appeal has helped ensure Invoice2go is a winner with tens of thousands of customers, rather than just a handful.
Wait there’s more
Instant access to sales figures, recent quotes for similar jobs, the inventory of products needed for a project, lists of customers with outstanding invoices… besides the basic billing function, Invoice2go has continued to pack in value-adding features that keep its small business customers coming back for more.
Show me the money – sooner
When does paying out a few bucks a year for an app look like a bargain? When it results in bills getting paid much sooner than before. For most small business folk, cash flow is king, so being able to point to customer feedback that suggests using the app can speed up incoming payments by as much as a week is a powerful selling point for Invoice2go.
Case studies, YouTube clips, a slick social media profile and a presence wherever self-employed folk are gathered in numbers… Investing in strategic marketing initiatives has helped Invoice2go build a profile that makes it a top-of-mind option for small business owners contemplating the leap to digital.
The legendary film producer Samuel Goldwyn is said to have lived his life by the credo, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” It’s likely Strode would share his sentiment. It’s one thing to come up with a great idea – and quite another to make the sacrifices needed to turn it into a commercial success. Having the determination, self belief and sticking power to put in several years of unrelenting toil, as Strode has done, has been a key factor in his rise to pole position in the App Store.
Sylvia Pennington is a Brisbane-based freelance journalist who writes about small business, information technology and personal finance.
Image: Courtesy of Invoice2go