I get to meet a lot of bootstrapping entrepreneurs who have some business ideas that work perfectly as a SaaS (Software as a Service) product. The advantage is once you have a basic product running, you don’t have to worry much about the product installation & its maintenance. You can concentrate on business and your customers. The product and new customer onboarding will run by itself.
Here are my 5 tips for those who are planning to start a software business (You might be thinking of a software/ app at the moment, but it can become a SaaS).
- Start lean but start making recurring money as soon as possible. And pick a good recurring billing company.
Everyone gives the advice of starting lean, like build an MVP and scale from there, especially while making a software product. But I would say while starting lean, start making revenue too as soon as possible. Otherwise, unless you are so confident on your idea, there is a chance you slow down if you feel like you are putting in so much effort and not getting the expected result.
Also, many entrepreneurs have ideas and then they give the product free for months to establish a user base. While that may work in some specific niches, nothing proves the viability and value of a product more than someone paying for it. You don’t have a good product until you have a revenue model to support it.
- Validate your idea — Not just at the beginning but Often.
Idea validation is an important process we should do often. Basically, the founder should always be working on the uniqueness/ innovation/ advantage in the product. I am not saying that it should be a very unique product idea, but you should have an idea about what’s going in the market, what are the key players and how you can compete with them.
- Make an enterprise-grade product with a consumer-grade UX.
That’s an advice I have heard from some greatest SaaS entrepreneurs. No matter the vertical of product, always make an enterprise-grade backend (which means it’s robustness, accessibility, security etc) with great user experience. UI/UX makes users feel like using the product and its security & reliability makes them use your product always without a second thought.
- Customer support is the difference.
You have to spend time with every single customer to get the product right. Set up a proper feedback mechanism and address it on a regular basis.
If you acquire customers, but they don’t use your product as much, you really don’t have a SaaS product yet. The advantages given by subscription businesses are great, but if your product is not being used much, eventually customers cancel their subscriptions. Therefore, always talk to customers, be there for them, make the changes they suggest that you think are valuable, focus on target user workflow and educate the users about the product and its unique benefits.
- Set up email marketing & leverage social media.
For setting up an email marketing campaign & using social media handles for your product, you don’t necessarily need a marketing department or you don’t need to be a marketer. Start small, collect prospect emails, start sending some content occasionally, post relevant content on social media pages. It slowly takes off.
These are the points that suddenly came to my mind. Add thoughts & suggestions, please!