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SaaS businesses (or software-as-a-service businesses) may not be the easiest type of business to set up. It can be difficult to know what you need to establish your company, and even more challenging to learn how to make it a success.
Yet, if you manage to get it right, you’ll find that having a successful SaaS business can be an extremely lucrative opportunity.
Despite the challenges that you’ll face, here we’ll reveal some of the top secrets to making sure your SaaS business is established successfully so that you can get off to the best start.
SaaS businesses allow users to access their software via internet browsers or web-based apps. The product is hosted by the maker of the software on its own server, so this explains why an SaaS product may often be called a “web-based” or “hosted” solution.
Often, SaaS products are referred to as solutions that are “cloud-based” too. Conversely, desktop-based models are software that is installed on computers then run on the user’s own server.
Perhaps you’ve already come up with an SaaS business concept but lack the necessary technical skill to build the app yourself. If so, don’t worry since you can still establish a highly successful SaaS business.
It’s important to note, though, that you’ll need to learn sufficient information about the business’s technical aspects so that you can hire the right candidates and understand any technical issues if and when they arise.
Before you can begin thinking about pricing, building your team or branding your SaaS product, you need to ensure you’ve decided on which problem you’re going to address and which solution will alleviate it.
Once that’s done, you need to write up a business plan, starting with a single-paged pitch. This will cover your tactics, business model, schedule and strategy. Once your plan is in place, it’s time to validate it by talking to prospective customers to find out whether your idea has legs.
Often, SaaS products will use a pricing model that is subscription based, so rather than only paying a single time and getting lifelong use, customers pay instead either annually or monthly to license the software. This model is popular since you can get higher lifetime value from each customer. You’ll need to test pricing models, starting by looking at your competitors to find a low, medium and high price bracket.
Finding a way to set your offering apart in the marketplace can be a challenge, so you need to establish a strong brand that is differentiated from its competitors. Consistency is key so that your brand can be easily recognised by prospective users.
Compliance with the sector you want to serve is vital, so take the time to investigate any specific regulations and rules for that industry before going any further, and ensure your company has been set up legally.
You may also need to obtain sufficient funding to launch your business. If you want maximum control, bootstrapping your company yourself could be the ideal solution since you’ll call the shots and decide how the business will be operated and run.
Alternatively, you can pitch to investors and get them on board straight away. This could help you get more access to restricted channels which could have taken a long time to get into but remember you’ll be losing some of your control over the company.
You should begin building your product as quickly as possible. Begin collecting contact details for prospective customers, set up your landing page, begin simple advertising and contact lots of potential customers.
Your starting point should be to keep it small then add other feature ideas as they arise. Decide on your development methodology and keep your core product development in-house for better control.
You can market SaaS products in many different ways, so try experimenting with affiliate partnerships, paid advertising, actively reaching out to different media outlets and using content marketing. You should probably do your PR yourself since you know your business best.
Begin to participate with online communities relevant to your offerings, start creating content that solves the problems of your target market and harness the power of email and social media marketing to their full advantage.
Tracking metrics may seem dull, time-consuming and worrying, but those numbers help you to make well-informed decisions. You need to track key metrics to work out how best to grow as well as whether the time is right for doing so.
When you track your metrics, your performance now and in the future can be improved, any potential issues can be spotted early and nipped in the bud before they get out of hand, and you can get real feedback relating to your milestones and goals. All of these enable you to make business decisions confidently.
Although we’ve condensed the process of starting your own SaaS business here, it’s important to remember that all of the components mentioned take time, refinement and testing. However, the most vital thing you need to know about launching your SaaS startup has to be that you need to get the product out into the marketplace.
So long as you’ve got a plan in place for how your business is going to work, you know which metrics you need to track to ensure your success, and you’re willing to iterate, you’ll find that your business is more likely to survive and overcome its competitors, even in today’s highly crowded marketplace.
Following the advice outlined here will just point you in the right direction to achieve the success that you desire and ensure that you get your new business off to the best possible start in this highly lucrative industry.
At Key Business Marketing, we offer a range of services, including content creation, SEO, PPC and social media management. Get in touch with us today to discuss your marketing needs and unlock your business' potential.