Top Tips and Tools for Starting a Successful SaaS Business
By Vaishali Badgujar, Last updated: 2023-01-11 (originally published on 2021-03-04)
SaaS, or Software as a Service Contract, is a model of delivery applications via the Internet, as opposed to installing and downloading the software on your device “manually.” These applications are also called web-based software or hosted software.
Given that by 2021, 73% of all companies will use SaaS solutions, it is bound to have many takers in the start-up arena.
Just like any other business, there are some general tips you’ll need to follow to start your SaaS business successfully.
Below are some simple tips:
#1 Create a Need and Establish the Demand
The first step to starting a SaaS business, or almost any business for that matter, is to find an issue that needs to be addressed. Think of your idea or product as the solution to a problem that your potential customers are going through.
Once you’ve defined the problem and have come up with the solution, know that there are those who know they need your product and those who don’t know they need it.
A good start to launching your business, in addition to defining the problem and proposing the solution, is to establish the demand in such a manner that it has an umbrella effect of reaching out to both groups of customers.
#2 Strategize an End-to-End SaaS Business Plan
What will be discussed here are some essentials to keep in mind while strategizing your business plan. These are general tips that will serve as a map to strategizing your SaaS business plan.
Draw out a solidified plan
Now that you have found a software solution to a problem, the next step is to organize a business plan to have the appropriate means to carry out the solution.
The first part of drawing out a solid plan is to define the value of your business. This will be the key motivator from which everything else will draw its energy.
Find your SaaS customer base
The next thing on your plate is figuring out who you need to sell to. You can’t just make a product that everyone will buy all the time. The solution to the problem you’ve found can only be sold to those who actually have that problem.
Understand the competition
Perhaps you’re not the only one who has come up with the same solution. Chances are that there are at least two or three others out there who want to pitch and promote the same solution.
Keeping that in mind, two things need to be done:
- Understand what they are specifically doing
- How are you different from them?
Focus on what makes you better than them. This is the same question that your customer base will ask.
Part of the business plan includes being familiar with all the roles involved in building the company, which requires understanding the value and necessity of each designation, why they are there, and what their work entails.
Another reason why the former is essential is so that you can monitor your employees well. Understanding what they do allows you to set clear expectations and goals that they need to fulfill to get your vision moving.
Consider using an organizational tool to set these goals and expectations and keep communication as clear as possible.
Retaining Good Employees
A good employee knows their worth; and if they are high performers, they will appreciate the opportunity for growth in their performance and recognition for the same. It’s better to focus on keeping your current talent than to scout for new talent.
Invest in a good HR software solution that will simplify all your chaos related to hiring, onboarding and managing employees.
Get Technical if You’re Already Not
You’ve recognized the need, defined the problem, and created the solution.
Now, how do you go on to build the software? Sure, you’ll have a team, but you’ll need to have some idea of what they are doing.
Does this mean you need to go back to school and start a whole new degree in software engineering? Sure, if you have the time, but there’s a quicker and simpler solution: just learn the basics for free.
Not only are there inexpensive and excellent courses available online, but many YouTube videos explaining the basic concepts. With some idea of the fundamentals, you should have a basic grasp of the intricacies of how your team is building your vision.
Now that you have established the idea, created a firm business plan, and have a solid understanding of what your team is doing, you will now need to show the world why they should buy your product and not anyone else’s. Or, if your idea is unique, you have to showcase the value of your product.
Consider marketing your product through email marketing and blogging. A blog for your product will serve as a constant “feeder” to your customer base as they’d like to keep up to date on the latest trends related to the product they are using. It also helps in being found on search engines.
Patience, steady planning, good organization, and tracking what works and what fails will help you successfully start and grow your SaaS business.
Vaishali Badgujar is a content marketer at Time Doctor, a SaaS time tracking & productivity tool for companies & freelancers. She is a content marketing expert & specializes in link building.
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.