A while back LocaliQ asked my colleague Neal Polachek to develop a talk for small businesses that would fit into its Growth Lab initiative. Something to help small businesses stay ahead of the curve.

Neal landed on an idea. What if small businesses adapted how they run their businesses to emulate the customer experiences that have become table stakes in our app-driven culture and economy?

“Our society is being habitually trained by the apps we are using on these powerful computers we have in our pockets,” Neal said.

So what does it mean to think like an app?

One example. Ditch voice mail. Who doesn’t hate voicemail? Replace it with a better modern experience like a chatbot or even an old school solution like an answering service. The app experience you are emulating is that apps are always open. An app never tells you it only operates between 8 am and 5 pm Eastern time.

Another example. Do you love watching the Uber driver inch closer to your pick up spot on the app? Or checking to see if your Amazon package has left the warehouse? Create a similar experience by giving customers real-time updates on a project’s progress. The only tech you need to do this is the camera on your smartphone.

Neal has a whole list of experiences that business can emulate to acquire more customers, make more money and have a more engaged and loyal customer base.

While technology plays a role in all of this, Neal argues that thinking like an app is more about adopting a mindset than adopting a technology.

“You don’t need to build an app. You need to start applying some of the things that apps do really well to how you do business in the real world,” Neal says on the podcast.

You can listen to the full episode here.