If you’ve been planning on starting a SaaS business, then there’s never been a better time in embarking on such an endeavor. Many SaaS (Software as a Service) enterprises have emerged in the past decade and have successfully left their mark in the industry.
Established tech giants such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have made available their own SaaS offerings. And users have been reaping the benefits of accessing these cloud-based applications cheaply and easily. Now, we’ll look further into what it takes to start your own Saas enterprise.
1. The Rise Of The SaaS Enterprise
The internet has radically transformed the way we do business and consume. Enterprises can release powerful apps far quicker than before, while users can access these applications almost effortlessly. And digital distribution has played a vital role in making this possible over the past two decades.
But even digital distribution has its fair share of bottlenecks that impedes the accessibility and evolution of software. In many cases, users have to pay a steep upfront cost and download and install files on their computers. And in the case of freemium or mobile apps, users may not have to pay a cent, but they’ll likely have to watch ads or whip out a credit card to access certain functionality.
Nowadays, users don’t have to relegate themselves to any digital distribution platform to access powerful and useful apps. With the rise of the SaaS enterprise, users can try out web-based solutions directly from their browsers.
So, what exactly is a SaaS enterprise? Well, it’s a company that develops an application or a series of applications meant to solve specific problems. These applications are hosted on a cloud service either by a third-party or on the company’s own servers. In the latter case, the company needs to update and maintain its SaaS applications and hardware. But that’s a boon for end-users since they don’t have to worry about updating their apps. And they no longer have to trawl forums or contact support when an update or installation goes wrong.
We’ve seen that this SaaS business model has been gaining traction in recent years. If you’ve used MailChimp, Slack, or Zoom, then you’ve used a SaaS product. But it won’t end there, as we’re bound to see many trailblazing SaaS enterprises emerge in the coming years.
2. Why You Should Consider Starting A SaaS Business
Whether you’re an appreneur or leading an enterprise, you’re likely coming up with cool and unique ideas. A few of these ideas could be solutions to problems that most people encounter in their day-to-day lives or enhance existing business processes. Either way, for these ideas to come to fruition, they’ll need the right vehicle to drive them forward.
One of the best ways to do this is by starting your own SaaS enterprise. And the good news is that it’s entirely possible with a small investment and a bit of sweat equity. Online marketing expert, Neil Patel, managed to launch his SaaS business based on a call-tracking idea for under $ 40,000. With his organized approach to building web-based businesses, Neil found a designer and a developer, built his product, and then focused on marketing and sales.
While we’re not insinuating that building a SaaS is easy, it’s doable with the right approach. Furthermore, you’ll benefit by establishing an enterprise that’s entirely your own without requiring a substantial investment. And, if your SaaS proves popular, it won’t be difficult sourcing venture capital (VC) to grow your enterprise further.
3. Choose The Right Funding Model
If you want to have maximum control of your SaaS enterprise, you should consider personally funding the entire endeavor. But if bootstrapping isn’t possible, then you could borrow money from friends and family. A word of warning, if you haven’t planned and validated your SaaS idea, you’ll be risking these funds on a project that could potentially fail.
However, if you’ve done your homework by conducting a competitive analysis, creating detailed financial forecasts, writing a lean plan, and validating your idea, then your funding options widen. Now, you’ll be in a position to seek funding from financial institutions, angel investors, and venture capitalists. But you’ll be giving up some control, and your business decisions will have to line up with requirements set by these entities.
4. A SaaS Business Starts With Proper Planning
Every serious entrepreneur draws up a business plan from day one. After all, no financial institution or angel investor will lend money to an enterprise without a business plan. And when building a SaaS, it’s essential to get your ideas on paper as quickly as possible.
However, it’s not necessary to draft a long and complex document initially. Start with a one-page pitch that briefly describes your business, unique value proposition, competitors, target market, sales forecast, expenses, milestones, and schedule. You can go into more detail once you’ve solidified your business model and SaaS proposition.
5. Creating A Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Determine whether or not users have an interest in your SaaS. Moreover, validate if these users are willing to pay to use your app. Without releasing a full-fledged product, you’ll never know for sure. But by creating an MVP, you’ll be able to quickly gauge if users are genuinely interested in your offering before building a SaaS.
6. Building A SaaS
Ideally, you’ll have talented developers on your team that will help bring your SaaS ideas to life. While you’ll probably do most of your development in-house, you may need to outsource some work. For a smooth collaborative process, it’s always better to work with experienced developers such as NS804.
Be sure to start small and choose the right software development methodology for your project. Then, get a beta version of your SaaS out the door as quickly as possible, and don’t add any unnecessary features before launch.
7. Employing Good UX Design
It’s just as important to have one or more competent designers on your team. After all, your SaaS shouldn’t only run well, but it must also look great! Users expect good UX design from their apps, and you must meet their expectations if your SaaS is to succeed. Your designers will need to have a solid grasp of the five key elements of UX designs, namely: information architecture, interaction design, usability, prototyping, and visual design.
8. Don’t Ignore Custom Development
While your SaaS enterprise may function amazingly on the cloud, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore custom development. Many users will appreciate accessing an offline version of your SaaS that runs natively on their computers or mobile devices. Furthermore, you can provide users with additional features, extended business functions, and improved security with a custom-developed app.
9. Should A SaaS Business Incorporate Custom Development?
Yes, every SaaS enterprise benefits from incorporating custom development. Many business processes require the speed, stability, and security that only a custom-developed native app can provide. And certain visually intensive apps only run well if they have direct access to a device’s CPU and GPU, which may require a custom solution.
Every appreneur and enterprise should consider building a SaaS if they want to reach new users. While there’ll always be a market for native applications, many users enjoy the accessibility and convenience of today’s SaaS offerings. Contact us today to learn how NS804 can help you get your SaaS business off the ground.