Before we dive right into how to start your own SaaS company, let’s talk about what SaaS is. SaaS stands for “software as a service”, which means users can access the software through a web-based app or their internet browser.
This also means that the software provider hosts the product on their own servers, which is why it is often referred to as a “web-based solution” or “cloud-based” solution. This is in contrast to desktop-based models wherein individuals or companies install the software on their own computers and run it on their own servers.
Being able to explain the difference to your customers will help you highlight the benefits of your software. And if you are interested in starting your own software company, we will cover the basics right here.
How to Launch a Successful Software Company
The first step in launching your own SaaS business is outlining your needs. Even if you don’t have the technical expertise to build your own app, you can still run a successful software business if you already have a solid idea for it.
You may still have to learn enough of the technical aspects so you can make better decisions and solve more problems down the line, but it’s not impossible to launch a successful software company without being an expert.
You need a business plan. Start by creating a one-page pitch that describes your product. That is the best way to get your idea onto paper. You can then expand this idea as you go along the process and identify your business needs. This is especially suitable for SaaS businesses that are always trying out new ideas.
Start with Filling a Void in the Marketplace
Whether you have an idea or not, you need to come up with a service that fulfills a certain need. Long story short, you don’t want to build something that no one wants. So start by filling a void in the marketplace.
It’s even better if you already have a target audience in mind. Know your audience, find out what they need, and be ready to supply that need. Once you have identified their needs, start developing a solution for one specific problem.
You have to create a detailed plan for your software before you even dive into things like pricing, branding, or building your team. This will serve as your roadmap towards success. If you are not solving a problem, you don’t have a business.
Build Your Team
Next, list all the key partners and resources you will need. Take note of your core team and each of their roles. This will help you identify the roles you need to hire for.
During this starting phase of your business, it is critical that you get the right people for the right roles—especially if you are putting them in leadership roles.
People in leadership roles will be in charge of building their respective teams. That’s how your organization grows, so make sure your team is solid from top to bottom by making good decisions early on.
If you know how to code, then you have that handled. But most of the time, you need to hire a dev, either full stack or a dev and a designer. You also need people in sales and customer service.
For your sales department, you need a sales leader and sales reps who understand the long term value of your software. They need to treat it as more than just another product to sell, but something that can provide a solution to people’s problems.
A marketing team can help create awareness around your product, which generates demand and leads to sales. This is a key component for the success of your company.
Your customer service and support teams also need to understand how your SaaS platform operates so they can provide a better experience for your customers.
On the engineering side, you need a CTO or Chief Technology Officer. This role may be filled by a co-founder that you know and trust. If you are planning to fill this role yourself, just keep in mind that you may have to delegate it to someone eventually as your company grows.
Finally, the product side of the organization is most commonly held by the founders. But even if the founder is the true expert on the product, they may eventually have to delegate it to someone who has a more suitable skill set, particularly in product management.
Co-Founders vs. Employees
Investors tend to favor companies that have more than one founder—which is why a lot of startups have two or three co-founders. Having co-founders will help you share the burden of running an entire company. You need co-founders who have complementary skills. Just keep in mind that your co-founders will serve as the faces of the brand alongside you, so choose them wisely.
Sharing your brand story with someone else is a big decision. It is tough for some people to determine whether they need to make someone a co-founder or take them in as an employee.
A co-founder is a lifetime title that goes along with titles like CEO and CFO. Co-founders typically work for free until the company gets going. On the other hand, an employee needs to get paid from the start. Know what your capital restrictions are and then make your decision from there.
If a person is making a sacrifice to get the company off the ground, for example someone who is bringing capital to the table, then they are either a co-founder or an investor.
A co-founder title could also be used as leverage to attract someone who is considering working for a larger company. If they are a perfect fit for the company, and they match your entrepreneurial spirit, then a co-founder title may be the right call.
Know How to Sell Your Software
Now that you know what your product does and what problem it solves, it’s time to learn how to sell it. Develop the best elevator pitch for your software and make it catchy.
If you are going to develop a demo for your software, keep it short but valuable. Do not create a demo that’s as long as a training session. Your lead doesn’t need to see every single thing that the software does. They just need enough information to buy the whole product. So your demo should just show them if it’s a good fit or not. Focus on benefits instead of features.
You should also start developing repeatable sales processes for your team. This should help keep everything organized so you can start getting that constant flow of revenue.
Leverage Software Sales Websites
Use software sales websites like AppSumo, G2 and other platforms to sell your solutions. This is how you refine your marketing strategies. The market is extremely competitive, and you need every bit of leverage you can find.
For example, AppSumo can help you sell your digital products and services. It is a daily deals site that is specifically designed for goods and services that are digitally-delivered. Your product will have to be offered at a discounted rate, but AppSumo distributes information about the product to a very large online audience, and that’s what makes it worthwhile.
AppSumo helps your software make a large number of sales very quickly, and that makes the discounts worth it.
G2 is another good way to promote your new software. G2.com is a trusted software marketplace. It’s where people go for software. Users can choose the right software based on timely reviews from other users. Your software can get the promotion it needs if you put it on G2.
Know What Platform to Do Content Marketing On
In this digital age where everyone is spending their time online, it is important to know how to leverage social media and digital marketing. However, it is also important to know exactly where you should promote your software.
Different platforms have different user demographics. If you promote the right content in the right platform, you can generate leads, drive traffic, and get more engagement—which will help you grow your SaaS company.
Content marketing has plenty of benefits: it lets you establish your place as an industry leader, it attracts a larger audience, and it helps build trust by providing value in the form of content. With a strong social media presence, you can create a community that sees your company as a trustworthy source of value.
There are many platforms you can potentially use: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and now even TikTok is making a huge impact. But you need to know where your audience is hanging out online and then target them with content they are interested in.
Use videos, text, pictures, and other content to answer questions people want to know about. It’s all about knowing your audience and giving them solutions to their problems using content.
Leverage a CRM like HubSpot or Monday.com
RM or customer relationship management is used by companies to manage their relationships with customers as well as potential clients. As your company grows, it will become more and more difficult to keep track of people’s names, contact numbers, and all your interactions with them. A CRM makes it all possible.
By choosing the right CRM, you can easily take control of your sales, stay organized, and keep your entire team on the same page. Use a CRM to manage contacts, build better relationships with customers, and improve customer support.
There are plenty of CRMs out there to choose from that can help you centralize your sales, but HubSpot, Monday.com, and Salesforce are the most commonly-used ones.
Build Scalable Systems
Scalability refers to an organization’s ability to withstand pressure as it scales. Your SaaS company will eventually grow if you make the right decisions and develop strong customer relationships. But you need to build scalable systems if you want it to survive for the long term.
Make sure you have a plan in place for when the company begins to grow. Develop scalable systems for your customer service, sales, and operations. Your business strategy should definitely include scalability. Your goal is to maintain profitability and efficiency even when you are serving a lot more customers than you started with.
Find Referral Partners or Affiliates
Networking plays a huge part in running a successful business, and that also applies to SaaS companies. If you can find referral partners who can recommend your amazing product to their own networks, it will benefit your company immensely.
A referral partner is someone who promotes your services in exchange for something valuable. You can incentivize them to sell your SaaS product for you and then give them a percentage of the sale. We all know how valuable referrals are. So try to secure a consistent source of referrals by getting a few referral partners and affiliates.
Invest Back into the Growth of the Company
Once your SaaS company is beginning to make money, don’t hesitate to invest some money back into it. You want your company to grow, so you should continue funding its growth.
You can use your earnings in a lot of different ways that will positively impact your company. You can develop new features for your product; you can hire more people, etc.
Keep investing on your company as it scales so that it only keeps on growing.
Avoid the Success Trap
When people hit a certain level of success they sometimes get overwhelmed. They don’t know how to handle it. They end up making very bad decisions that create negative effects on their company. Instead of investing back into the growth of their company, they waste their money.
The bottom line is: don’t buy stupid things to impress people who don’t really care. Focus on building your empire. Avoid the success trap and make wise investment decisions.
Work with Kennected to Help Your Software Scale!
Kennected is a company that has grown significantly within a short period of time. Now Kennected is offering even more products and solutions that benefit clients and solve their problems.
The best part is that you can work with Kennected to grow your own software. We have joint venture agreements with multiple other SaaS companies and we can help your company grow too! Give us a call today and we can talk about taking your SaaS company to the next level.