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Tyler Kutt Tyler Kutt COURTESY PHOTO

App developer sees ‘brighter times’ ahead as small biz transitions to digital

BY Sunday, January 02, 2022 06:22pm

Tyler Kutt took the reins of Grand Rapids-based web and mobile app developer Grand Apps at the beginning of 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt life and the economy. Prior to purchasing the company with longtime employee Brandon Ross, Kutt served as head of marketing for the business. With five employees that have been working remotely since the pandemic began, Kutt spoke with MiBiz about COVID-inspired lessons he has learned so far in his tenure as co-owner. 

While you had been at Grand Apps before purchasing the company, did your new position teach you anything new about the organization?

I think the biggest thing we learned is that innovation is extremely important. We’ve been designing websites and mobile apps since 2011, but what else can we do? What else can we bring to that? What features do we not currently offer that we can? So, we thought through a lot of that and have some exciting stuff coming out here that we’ll hopefully have tested and ready to launch soon. … The biggest lesson was: Don’t stop thinking and innovating. You have to keep moving.

Is innovation difficult when everyone is working remotely? How do you spark innovation when you work that way?

Besides me and Brandon, everyone else is working remotely on a day-to-day basis. But we’ve made a point to get together every month, or once every other month, to come together if people are willing and have those types of sessions and to make sure we still have the cultural piece of the company. 

Grand Apps works with companies in many industries. Are you optimistic about the future in seeing these industries all bounce back?

Our bread and butter is small to medium-size businesses and, let’s be honest, those are the ones that have been hurt the most going through this stuff. For us to come up with innovative ways to help companies that also won’t break the bank, that’s kind of the name of the game for us and has been a lot of our focus this year. Developing that takes some time, but I’d say we have two or three really solid things that we can release to the public and make it affordable (for small businesses). I think brighter times are definitely ahead.

What sort of trends did you notice in what your clients were looking for? And do you see that becoming the norm?

We had quite a few potential clients that came back and wanted to take things more seriously. It’s unfortunate that it took COVID for people to realize how important digital is, but that’s what happened. Demand was definitely there — we’ve seen a big push in the mobile app area as well as online ordering and things like that. That’s across industries. A lot of companies that really never thought about going ecommerce want us to update their website with that capability.

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