There are lots of ways to build a business, and if you feel like the momentum you crave is eluding you, it might be time to switch things up with some fresh growth strategies.
One game-changing way to achieve this is by building and distributing an API, otherwise known as an application programming interface.
APIs are the means by which different software apps can interact with one another and share data, without needing to be entirely interoperable.
This basic description doesn’t do them justice in terms of what they can offer up-and-coming organizations, so let’s investigate the true power of APIs in a startup context.
Data is the lifeblood of all APIs, and the biggest selling point of this solution is that you can harness it as a means of generating revenue from the information your organization is already generating.
Whether you choose to make APIs that are open for anyone to use, or you implement them solely to engage with your clients and partners, the principle is the same: Your data can be monetized by making it securely accessible to third parties.
This sounds terribly complex, but thanks to the rise of API marketplaces it has become much easier. For example, Rapid API is an API marketplace where developers and businesses can monetize their APIs via RapidAPI’s platform. You can make it a breeze for others to discover and implement your API, then track calls made to it and use this for billing.
There are all sorts of examples of APIs being used in this way that have a transformative impact on the businesses in question.
From social networks like Twitter and Facebook to e-commerce platforms and meteorological applications, many organizations have achieved growth and built partnerships by opening up their data through APIs.
Accelerating internal assets
While APIs may be useful for external interactions, they are also just as appropriate for fueling the rise of your internal application ecosystem.
Even startups need lots of software services and solutions to function effectively, and if you are looking to speed up development cycles and improve interoperability, a homegrown API will let you reach this goal in a way that lets you stay in control.
It’s also worth pointing out that some of the best business opportunities are unlocked only when your team members are given the tools they need to fulfill their true potential.
And if a bespoke API lets you catalyze internal processes and remove barriers, this is clearly a positive step.
Accessing new markets
As touched upon earlier, the intent of outward-facing APIs in particular is not just to turn stagnant data into a dynamic money-making asset for all sorts of organizations, but also to gain access to markets that were not within your reach.
A lot of this comes down to the brand-building aspect of launching an API. If you have something of value to offer, and it is affordable for third parties to access, then even your relatively unknown organization can gain recognition in important circles.
Getting your foot in the door with an API will eventually lead to bigger and better things, and when the time is right, a brand that people already recognize will make them more amenable to work alongside you, or buy your products and services.
Another positive spin on this perspective is that your API could enable you to tap into preexisting ecosystems that are already up and running. Whether that be a search engine, a mapping app or anything else, the point is that this is the tool you can use to break down barriers standing between your startup and the big time.
Thinking about performance and security
With all the advantages of building an API, it’s important to also talk about a few of the considerations you need to keep in mind if you want to launch yours without making common mistakes.
API performance must be a priority, or else it could be more of a frustration for end users than it is an asset. This not only applies to the responsiveness of the API to calls made, but also to its overall stability and accuracy over time.
Monitoring performance and troubleshooting problems as soon as possible are the only viable strategies for a business that wants its fledgling API to fly the coop.
Security is another sticking point, as you might worry about giving third parties access to information stored on internal server hardware, or whatever resources you have set up for this purpose. Vigilance, and the implementation of secure best practices, will steer you through this storm.
Lots of businesses have already bloomed thanks to the launch of an API, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to follow in their footsteps.
An innovative, value-focused, responsive API will give your company the opportunity to grasp rapid growth and generate demand with relatively minimal upfront investment.