Capri Truvillion is a Dallas based realtor and entrepreneur who runs two very successful companies, Truvillion Real Estate Academy, which provides both practical skills and Continuing Education for Texas-based real estate professionals, and Capri Truvillion, which offers financial, business literacy and wealth-building courses for adults. Truvillion also launched a not-for-profit program in 2015 called FLEA (Financial Literacy Educators of America), a hybrid online and in-person learning experience where underserved youth learn the fundamentals of money management and budgeting. FLEA is supported by an Obama Foundation grant.
But, for all her experience, business savvy and acumen, Truvillion was not prepared for the realities of digital transacting and the story of how she pivoted to a mobile app to build her business is a cautionary tale. After having her Facebook business page hacked and eventually shut down by Facebook and losing the over 1000 followers and connections she had worked hard to build, Truvillion realized that relying on Facebook to serve as the hub of her business network was no longer viable. To stay in business, she needed an alternative and she found one… her own mobile app.
Truvillion recalls, “I needed to have more control over my database and how I communicated with my sphere of influences and that’s when the idea of an app started. I saw that all the major corporations were doing it, and while I wasn’t sure I could do it myself, I knew I had to do something.”
After discovering enCappture, Truvillion realized that she could not only control and easily manage her network herself but communicating with them would become much more efficient.
“Now that my database lives in the app, I can actually interact with them in the palm of their hands (and mine) instead of going through the motions of logging on to Facebook or a computer. Now I control who gets my messaging and when.”
Truvillion also saw that having her own company apps adds to her business’s credibility and professionalism. “Typically branded mobile apps were reserved for major corporations or Fortune 500 companies, so for someone like me with a small business to have one lends instant authority, credibility, and professionalism.” “Everyone thinks I’m a celebrity,” Truvillion kidded, adding, “they know me before I know them. I guess my branding is working… people know what I’m doing because of the way that’ I’m doing it… on a mobile app.”
In addition, the functionality of the app gave her an edge with her clients. She can host all of her online real estate exam prep courses and Continuing Education courses on the app, so her clients no longer have to login and search for the course they want. She can also communicate back and forth with all her clients at once or individually through the app. “I tell people to just download the app to schedule an appointment, ask questions, make comments or air concerns. I no longer share web addresses or social media. I just say download the app if you want to access me.”
Along with the convenience of providing her courses through the app, Truvillion found the app’s push notifications to be extremely helpful. Through the push notifications, she can instantly send reminders about course topics and start times with the link that takes students directly into the course. “People love the instant gratification of not having to go and search. Facebook is cool but if people have to go and find my posts, it’s going to be a headache and very discouraging, so they won’t do it. I love the fact that I can just let them know what we are going to talk about and send the link,” Truvillion says.
Because of all the positive feedback she’s received on the app’s functionality and user-friendly experience, Truvillion recommends using a mobile app as part of her “Blueprint to Entrepreneurship.” As she tells her students, “I know that in the near future, you’re going to need your own mobile app in business, or you’ll be left behind. Small businesses need it so they can have more control over their audience.”
The icing on the cake? She says, “An app is more affordable than I expected. I’ve done the math. A few online courses sold each month covers my monthly admin cost. And to be able to conduct business during the pandemic is a real bonus. I am grateful every day that I can still do what I do during this time because of the app and how affordable it is.”
In 2021, Truvillion is hoping that her downloads will double and she’s planning to pay more attention to the analytics the enCappture platform offers. “I want to use the interactive polls and survey features when I get back to live teaching and also start to encourage my online students to network using my app’s chat feature. I’m also planning to expand my course offering to 13-15 subjects, and launch TRU talks, an online series devoted to teaching marketing, branding and accounting with various guest instructors lending their expertise.”
If necessity is the mother of invention and adversity its father, then Capri Truvillion called on both to grow her success. “From the misfortune of being hacked, I was forced to find a new way to conduct business. Today, my clients think I’m a movie star but really, it’s all in my app.”