Introduction: Software-as-a-Service (SAAS)
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – this article will discuss some important principles on how to start an online SaaS business as an entrepreneur.
What Is Software-as-a-Service (SAAS)?
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a software delivery framework or model that is hosted by a third-party vendor. Unlike in-house or on-premise solutions SaaS allows users to access services through the web. SaaS also reduces complicated work on application and database management.
Notable examples of SaaS Companies and Services:
- Slack Technologies
- Veeva Systems
- And Many More
Provide Solutions To Existing Problems
First and foremost, to make money online your online Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business must provide solutions to existing problems or limitations. You need to identify existing problems and come up with solutions. Proper market research would be necessary for you to come up with solutions to real day to day problems.
It is important that you have an avatar of your ideal customers whether your service is for B2B and or B2C clients. Research is essential to know their challenges, expectations and solutions for their problems. You can do such research on Social Media sites like Quora, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube to understand the expectations, comments and problems SaaS consumers face on a day to day basis.
You can also bring solutions to problems that already have solutions but you should make sure you do it better. It is highly crucial to know your ideal customer or consumer so that you avoid being Jack Of All Trades But Master Of None. There is a high temptation to skip this step but if you are wise take your time and know your avatar.
Your software must offer your customers some of the following opportunities (that make people buy): Make money, save money, save time, avoid effort, escape mental or physical pain, get more comfort, achieve greater cleanliness or hygiene to attain better health, gain praise, feel more loved and increase their popularity or social status.
Above all, you must deliver incredible results for the end-users of your online Software as a service business. Providing more better results than they are used to will make your customers depend on you and promote your online Saas business to their colleagues.
You might also consider buying an already existing online Saas service but you would have to turn it around for the best with a better plan of action. Above all, some coding skills on your part would give you an advantage in your online Saas venture.
Hire the correct people for the correct jobs
Furthermore, you need to hire the correct experts for your ideal SaaS business. It is important that you find qualified experts so you have the correct team for your ideal online Saas business.
It will be important that you do thorough research and employ the correct people for the correct job. This can only be done through proper vetting of your software developers. You might need a pragmatic and enthusiastic technical co-founder. You can find highly technical co-founders on sites like: https://cofounderslab.com and https://angel.co.
At times you might need to hire highly experienced consultants on SaaS or those in the software business, but this depends also on your budget and financial capacity.
It is important to hire qualified and experienced personnel. During the selection process, it is highly important that you get the assistance of experienced people in that area. Also, use your instincts and select only those with a Positive Mental Attitude and those who understand your company’s values, aspirations and targets.
Your team must be on top of the game or at least motivated to come up with the best system in your niche. If necessary be ready to offer your customers more services like browser extensions, phone apps and have social media accounts for your business.
Consulting professionals in terms of your unique brand and the brand’s colours is also highly essential. If you are a solo entrepreneur or have a very tight budget you may outsource cheaper expert freelancers on Freelance sites like Upwork, Fiverr and or other freelancing sites for Developers, UX Designers and Beta Testers. On the other hand, you can also hire more expensive experts on sites Guru.com.
For the success of your online Saas business, you must hire the best UX Designers and Developers you can find.
Have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
A minimum viable product (MVP) is a version of a product with just enough features to be usable by early customers who can then provide feedback for future product development. A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) would be important for your potential experts to have a feel of using your app.
Having an MVP done by the correct experts would also allow you to know if people would be interested in your product before you invest so much in the business. Once you have an MVP the next step would be to bring it on the internet.
Consider a white-label partnership
A White Label Partner is an individual or team who do work on your clients’ project but appear to be part of your core team. They use your branded email, your chosen Project Management tool (PM) and might even go as far as creating an alias on social media from which to talk directly to your end client. You might also consider a white-label partnership to save time and money whilst you focus on your business’ marketing needs.
Promote the culture of success
In your company, you must promote a culture of success and encourage your staff to deliver incredible results for the customer’s needs.
Have a vision and a business plan
Also, it is important to have a vision and a strategic business plan. As the online Saas owner know what you want to achieve and have a vision that inspires not only your staff but more importantly your clients as well. Read the books Start With Why and Find Your Why by Simon Sinek for inspiration. The books will inspire you to come up with high-quality business systems that inspire people to take positive action and follow your brand with enthusiasm.
It is also important to identify your competition so you take advantage of their limitations. For inspiration on your next SaaS business, you may check the websites producthunt.com and betalist.com on the new online Saas business trends. You have to know what your ideal software is for.
Examples of online Saas business niches include software for CRM, HRM, task management, email marketing, student management, employee management to mention but a few.
Top-notch customer service
Additionally, it is important that you have top-notch customer services for clients’ satisfaction. When beginning the online SaaS business it is highly important for you to have quick and useful responses to your customers.
Your services must be customer-oriented for all. Strategically, impress the early adopters (Early adopters are technology enthusiasts in various industries who usually buy new services and or products before everyone else so that they can just have experience using your product or services. There are usually experts on the technology they buy and are most likely to comment positively or negatively on public forums depending on how they felt. At most their positive comments would result in your product’s early success and popularity) for they will recommend your online business to their fellow colleagues.
Be quick to solve queries and the bugs your consumers experience with your software. Customer engagement is important so that you will know where you stand e.g live chat, asking for comments and suggestions, referrals, and software reviews. You will also get the opportunity to get ideas on features you can add to expand your business.
Analyzing statistics like the time users spent on your service, interviews and surveys would allow you to address the needs of your clients. It will be important for you to keep measuring, assessing as well as learning how your clients use your online Saas software.
Do not focus on your ideal version of the service whilst not focusing or not addressing your customers’ needs. Poor customer service will result in you losing customers to the big established competitors in your field.
High-quality customer support differentiates the best businesses from the low-performing businesses.
Have a marketing strategy
Furthermore, you need a well-planned marketing strategy. With quality online SaaS services, your business can rise exponentially with Digital Marketing skills like using customized Facebook ads. Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing skills would be also be required. These are necessary for your website, SEO strategy, landing pages to mention but a few. ]
]Your advertising strategy should be customized to target those in your niche area. For this to be successful you need to have top-notch Content Marketing and Content Writing skills. PPC campaigns although costly would give you an advantage if your business and websites are still new. A monthly budget for Facebook and other social media ads for your MVP would promote your business’ growth to a greater extent.
Test the prices
You need to strategically choose your prices and test them over time. It is important for you to have different prices for different consumers and be prepared to test various prices over time. Free trials are a must especially if your brand is unknown. This might include offering free trials for 7 days, 2 weeks or even 1 month. If you are a new online Saas entrepreneur offering your new online Saas without free trials would limit your potential for growth.
Free trials also give you an opportunity to have sign-ups as well as grow your email list for future promotional content. Also, the needs of a sole proprietorship business are different from those of a 500+ employees large corporation. Determine which pricing strategy you would like to use.
If your SaaS service is still new in the industry it is highly important to offer some freebies for potential customers to get addicted to your service e.g Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest SEO service was free for a while until it got a large following.
With time be ready for more
As more clients join your service be prepared to deal with expenses like hiring better software engineers and server expansion services. For hosting it is highly important that you use reliable services so that you do not offend your clients. Reliable hosting sites include Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS.
In a nutshell, this report has discussed various factors you should consider when starting a successful online Saas business. Such include employing real experts in your field of interest, have a vision and a strategic business plan and your business must bring solutions to existing problems or limitations. The business must also have excellent customer service and a professional good-as-gold marketing strategy. Also, be aware of the prices you offer customers and hosting fees.