I do SEO & PPC for 22 medical practices, doctors groups, surgeon specialty clinics, and know what works. Founder www.Yiveo.com
Push notifications are a great way to engage app users, as long as it's not annoying. One example of this is wayfinding apps with beacon technology that detect when mobile app users are nearby and send push notifications to let them know something important. In this case, push notifications could alert a user of a special sale, which can be perceived as spammy, or that they have arrived at a certain desired waypoint (more useful, and less spammy), along with interesting information about that location. Think of how useful these are for tourist destinations, like museums, zoos, etc.
You've downloaded xyz zoo app, walk near the big cat area and get a push notice, "grrrrowl, don't miss our feeding time. In 30 minutes you can see us chowing down on fresh antelope quarters".
There are many mobile app builders out there, but often they aren't great at creating custom native apps.
Contracting a developer to build a custom app can be pretty expensive, up to 200k in some cases. I know of companies who have created a joint venture to share profits, etc., but this is when the company getting the app built already has a massive following.
An idea alone may not be much of a bargaining chip, but, add some funding to it, and some hard work, and we've seen the basement start-ups that have followed and become wildly successful.
It might be worthwhile to search for "mobile app developer" groups on LinkedIn, Facebook etc. to pose the question to see what kind of feedback you get.
IF asking for advance payment doesn't prevent sales to close (which is why many companies avoid it), the benefits of getting advance payments are:
1) increased cash flow.
2) creating a deeper client commitment (making it more difficult to back out, stall, or change terms)
3) removes the burden on the vendor to go into "collections" mode which can be frustrating and difficult.
4) Gives the vendor a balance of leverage which can create a healthier relationship between both parties.
5) Gives the vendor the funds to proceed (assuming resources, etc. will be used). Otherwise, imagine resources are used to queue up the client, and then there is non-payment...the vendor then suffers a loss that may not be recovered.
Consider the cost (time and money) of acquiring that skill vs. hiring that skill. Often entrepreneurs try to do it all, when the best choice, and the path to sustainable growth is allocating (or raising) the funds to hire professional talent.
Hiring talent (which is often better than you could ever be, because that is their single focus, and passion) prevents you from getting bogged down in the lengthy process of acquiring new skills every time there is a need, and getting distracted from the high level strategic leadership the company needs to thrive.
I've worked with a number of businesses that expanded into a few locations, and then felt that it was time to create a franchise. Using a franchising model as a vehicle to growth is often enticing. The owner should think about end goals, and whether a franchise can actually fulfill them. Take the time to assess the energy it takes to establish a franchise, and then ask whether once transformed into a franchise the business, and owner will still thrive.
Some initial questions to ask:
1) Is my business attractive enough to actually "sell", as a franchise.
1a.) Are you ready to standardize the business model (operations, products, etc.), and after that transformation, will it still be differentiated enough to be attractive?
2) Are you ready to step away from the day to day business operations to dedicate your energy into launching and managing the franchise? (often the diversion of efforts can be very taxing on the existing business).
2a.) Do you want to be in the business of running the kind of specific operation you have, or selling and managing franchises, which is often a switch owners don't consider (and later regret because they really enjoyed the hands-on day to day experience of the way it used to be).
3) What are the advantages/disadvantages of a franchise vs. the alternatives (i.e. partnerships, etc.) ?
4) What are your ultimate goals, and how exactly will franchising accomplish them?