Starting A SaaS Business: What You Need To Know
Software as a Service (SaaS) has proven to be a successful business model over the past two decades.
It entails delivering software programs and solutions over the internet to businesses that need them and charging a regular subscription fee.
SaaS has simplified the process of obtaining and accessing the software business which used to be painful in the past.
It is a billion-dollar industry and can be a great option for those who dream about building a multi-million or even billion-dollar business.
How do you start a SaaS business?
Research customer problems
Every good product or service solves a problem or fulfills a need.
If you look at your applications folder right now, you will see various pieces of software that solve a problem or fulfill a need for you. If you have a problem people would like sorted out, you likely have a viable opportunity for a SaaS that can solve that problem.
Some of the best ways to discover customer problems include:
- Forums like Facebook groups and Reddit.
- Quora, where you can see the types of questions people are asking.
- Listening to people talk in personal and professional settings.
- Considering the needs you have found and the solutions that would fulfill those needs.
These options will help you develop the seed of an idea. Once you have one, you can start digging further to see if there is a need for a solution.
This exploratory phase will be time-consuming, challenging, and repetitive, but it can be the difference between success and failure so take your time and do it well.
Come up with solutions to customer problems
Once you have found a problem that has enough potential customers (people willing to pay for a solution) start brainstorming solutions.
You can start by looking at the broader market to see if solutions to the identified problems exist.
If they do, check out what people do not like about them and where they fall short. You can go into communities where there are people who use these solutions and talk to them about the shortfalls they are experiencing.
You can also cold call or email these people asking them about the pain points they are still experiencing after using the solutions in the market.
Write a draft business plan
While it may seem premature to start writing a business plan at this point, it can be an important tool in giving you direction. It will help you identify:
- Your unique value proposition
- The problem you want to solve
- The market you will target
- Your competition
- The people (team members) you will need
- Revenue models
- The cost associated with launching the SaaS
Validate your idea
No matter how good a solution you have, your business is less likely to succeed if people do not pay for it. Validation helps you know this before you start investing time and money into the idea. You will need to perform competitor analysis and gather detailed user feedback.
You will then need to create wireframes and then build the minimum viable product (MVP). The MVP will have basic key features so you can gather feedback and know what additional features to add to the SaaS product you develop.
Even in cases where your validation does not produce a positive result, you will have learned how to develop a business plan and validate your idea if you want to develop another SaaS.
Think about revenue generation
There are various ways SaaS products generate money. These include monthly subscriptions, free tiers and then subscriptions later, tiered pricing, one-time fees, and advertising revenue. Each has its pros and cons and should align with your business plan and model.
Figure out your branding
Your brand is the tone, look and feel of the company and SaaS product. It includes everything from your messaging to the copy on your website and social media platforms. Even if you do not flesh out your brand fully at this stage, you should have the foundational elements that let you launch the product.
Iterating and providing support
At this point, you should have a few people and early testers using your product. This is the stage where you start fleshing out older features and adding new ones.
You might also need to provide support to those using the product. You can provide remote support to see where these early users are having issues. Solutions like TSplus Remote Support are great for remote desktop control and screen sharing so you can see how a user is using your product and where they are getting hung up. It is the ideal solution for IT professionals and businesses that need to provide remote support to their customers.
If you wish to start a SaaS business, following the steps above should get you to a point where you have a product, have tested it, and are ready to launch it to the masses. The only thing left would be to develop a go-to-market strategy, register the business, and put a marketing plan in place.