Reseller Jerry Lieveld 11 May 2017
From going door-to-door cold selling apps to a successful business with 200+ clients. It’s a career that could be yours, says reseller Richard Lloyd-Roberts from Brandgarden.
The U.S. financial crisis, a flash of inspiration at Starbucks and finally a business that brought him his dream car. Although originated in Hollywood and containing blockbuster characteristics, the story of self-made app builder Richard Lloyd-Roberts is a true reseller story.
“I started Brandgarden in 2003 as a company based in Hollywood helping emerging designers reach celebrities through gift bags and events such as award shows. When I left Los Angeles for the East Coast of America, I changed the business model to print services for small business. After the U.S. financial crash I needed to create a new career for myself and while drinking coffee at Starbucks I watched someone build an app with app building software. I knew this was the future so I taught myself to build an app. My wife went from door-to-door selling apps to store owners. Neither of us knew the first thing about this but with the knowledge that this was the future we pushed on. We have 200-plus clients now and sell about 100 apps a year.”
What kind of clients do you service with apps?
“Small businesses are our focus. They need help. Many of them do not have the resources, time or knowledge to make apps. I have several customers who have made their entire business run from their app. Businesses such as Stayfit Snacking, The Short Hair Company, LKN Savings and many others. But don’t think that AppMachine is just for small companies. Several of our customers are big businesses. One company won a multimillion dollar contract with the app we built for them. This was because they were the only one in the bidding process that made an app.”
So Brandgarden is an apps only business?
“No, not apps only. Brandgarden is a company that creates mobile strategies for small businesses. We focus firstly on apps and then, if needed, a mobile friendly website that ties features to the app like E-Commerce, email campaigns and online learning. We tried to specialize in just apps but our customers needed better websites and other services so we expanded to meet those needs.”
You have 200+ clients. How do you keep them happy?
“We have learned that customers leave for few reasons. One is they don’t stay in business. Second is they don’t learn to use the app. To solve this we made training video’s. Also if the app is not helping them grow their business or improve their business they may abandon the app. This means it´s important to stay in communication with clients. Help them grow into their apps.”
“If the client feels included they are more in love with their app”
“Our strategy is to build apps with the clients’ input. Sounds logical but we really create a team with clients and follow their branding if they have it. I find that including them in the creative process is a good way to keep them happier. It can be frustrating sometimes but this gets a better long term result. If the client feels included they are more in love with their app.”
Is pricing an issue for your clients?
“We have found a good spot for the pricing. When we were starting we were very cheap. When I raised prices I got more work and the clients stayed longer. I raised them again and it was the same result. Now I am not afraid of pricing. If you give a good product and service the clients are happy to pay.”
You use AppMachine to build your apps. What’s your experience with AppMachine?
“AppMachine is the best combination of features, technology and design that I could find on the market. Technically, my favorite feature is the Pro Form block which I use for the collection of data, returning data back to the app reviews, wish lists and much more.”
“I’ve been moving all my clients to AppMachine”
“Also, the customer support is the best. I get fast responses and solutions to my problems. Pricing is excellent but that’s secondary. I would pay more just to have this service. When client has a problem, I want to solve it fast. AppMachine’s team helps me do this. I have been moving all my clients from my old app building software to AppMachine.”
You’re an AppMachine reseller. What benefits does that have?
“I love being a reseller for AppMachine. I have the benefits of a team without the need to hire everyone. Support is always there and I get the app improvements of a bigger company without the expense and need to figure it all-out on my own. And the new developer forums give me other resellers to talk to.”
What would you recommend to other AppMachine resellers or app builders?
“Firstly I would say that you should believe in the AppMachine product. It is the best product out there for a reseller that I have found. Learn as much as you can about it. I am always finding new things that can be done and I have been at this for some time. If you know your product you will be able to provide good service to your customers.”
“To start: specialize in an industry you know well. This way you can talk with confidence about it. Also ask what problems that they most want to solve. Sometimes it surprises you what comes up. Then make sure to really service your customers with speed and make sure the problems are fixed. You customers can be great referral sources.”
“And the most important: never give up and go buy the book The Laws of Success by Napoleon Hill. It will change your life.”