If you’re in and around the software or technology industries, then you’re fully aware of how much potential exists in the SaaS space. There are numerous stories of small software companies going from zero to seven, eight, or even nine figures in a matter of months. But there are also countless tales of failure. If you want to build a successful SaaS company, you must approach it from the correct angle.
Try These 6 SaaS Growth Tips
Growing a successful SaaS company isn’t easy, but it certainly isn’t impossible. The key is to formulate a strategic plan on the front end so that you can cast a clear and actionable vision. Here are a few suggestions:
- Ask Before Building
Excessive postulation and a lack of confirmation are two of the biggest problems in this industry. Software developers come up with this “amazing” and “revolutionary” idea, and then they spend thousands of hours developing a “cutting edge” application. The only problem is they never asked anyone if they wanted the software in the first place. And come to find out, there isn’t much interest or need in the first place.
As a general rule of thumb, never build anything that somebody hasn’t already asked you to build. You should ask your audience, listen to what they want, and then use these insights to shape your approach. (What your audience wants and what you think they want are usually two different things.)
- Solve a Specific Problem
Any good software or application needs to solve a specific problem. It’s not enough to offer a slight improvement over an existing application. You need to create tangible value for your user base. (And again, the only way to know what problem to solve is by asking and listening to your target market.)
- Focus on a Niche
In addition to focusing on a specific problem, it’s also wise to zero in on a specific niche. While niching down might limit the relative size of your customer base, it makes it much easier to develop inroads, earn visibility, and generate a small group of loyal initial users.
For example, don’t go after all B2B business owners. Instead, focus on B2B business owners in the finance space. From there, you can further drill down to individual niches within finance. Or you might aim to help companies of certain sizes – like 1 to 50 employees.
You can always zoom further out. But by starting with a specific niche audience, you’ll find it’s easier to gather honest feedback and scale up with lower overhead and greater efficiency.
- Begin With an MVP
Avoid the temptation to get your software perfect on the first release. Not only is this impossible, but you’ll likely end up quitting before ever completing the initial version. Instead, start with a minimum viable product (MVP) and scale from there.
“Your minimum viable product is smaller than you think it is,” developer Dayana Mayfield writes.
“Too often, new SaaS entrepreneurs assume that their MVP is whatever initial group of features make sense to them to include in the first launch. Not so. Your MVP is actually the minimum functionality that customers will pay for (or free users will get value from).”
Armed with an MVP, you can listen, gather feedback, and gradually improve/pivot until you have a version that satisfies more of your users’ needs.
- Invest in Lead Generation
You can’t build a successful SaaS company without scale. And the key to scaling your user base is consistent and steady lead generation.
While there are dozens of different lead generation strategies, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the more powerful options. SEO and link building can help SaaS companies generate targeted traffic at the top of the funnel. Then, with strategic landing pages in play, you can indoctrinate these visitors into your free or low-cost option. From there, the software speaks for itself. (If you have an application that adds value, you’ll retain most of your initial users.)
- Listen and Evolve
Never settle for the current version. As soon as you experience any level of success in your niche, there are going to be a dozen SaaS competitors lined up to knock you off. You have a head start – now it’s up to you to maintain that advantage by gathering feedback and evolving based on the insights you glean.
Give Your SaaS Biz a Boost
There are no guarantees for success. If building a successful SaaS company was effortless, there would be many more millionaire software developers and entrepreneurs. But if you follow the tips outlined in this article, you’ll soon realize that success in this industry tends to be rather formulaic. And if you’re patient enough to follow the signposts, good things could be in store!