There is no denying that cloud computing has become a major driving force behind Startup and small businesses across the globe as it allows them to operate at minimum costs and scale on the fly. Interestingly, even the large enterprises have also started moving some of their business operations to the cloud recently.
Considering the growth and scope of software as a service market, the time is ripe for budding entrepreneurs to launch their own SaaS startups. If you are interested yourself, then you can simply follow these steps:
1. Create a Simple Plan
The first step to launching any business is to create a business plan. However, you don’t have to compile a 50-page report that’s filled with intimidating pie charts and graphs. Just a basic roadmap that covers the basics will do. Besides, it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to make major changes in their plans later. So, there is no point in delving into details at least during the initial phase.
The following are some of the things that you should cover in your business plan:
- A brief description of your business
- The problems that you will solve with your products and services
- Funding options- business loan, angel investors, crowdsourcing, etc.
- Target demographic and marketing strategy
2. Get Proof of Concept
Creating a business plan is important but you need more than that to get started. This is because it’s one thing to create a company on paper, and another to launch it in the real world with real challenges. So, to take a major step towards turning your idea into reality, you need a proof of concept i.e. real numbers and results that show that your idea is viable and can be pursued with serious investment and resources.
You can start by creating a prototype of your product or service and using in the real world which is the ultimate proof of concept. This will help you identify its strengths and weaknesses in real situations which you can use to make the improvements. On the off chance the drawbacks are too many or simply unfixable, then you can prevent pursuing the idea itself that would have otherwise cost you tons of money and resources. On the other hand, if the results are more than satisfactory, then you can have more confidence in your business and it will be easier to rope in new investors as well.
3. Think About Branding and Competitive Edge
Now that you should have a business plan and proof that it works, you can work on creating a unique identity in the market. Even if your idea is novel, you will need branding to establish authority and gain the trust of your target demographic.
No matter what kind of SaaS products you are offering, if you will study the market carefully, then you will find at least one major contender. You can’t beat this player unless you are able to distinguish yourself from them. For that, what you need is a professional and attractive logo, apt mission statement and vision, and other basic branding elements like color palette, fonts, brand voice, etc.
The best thing about branding in this era is that you don’t have to spend days studying the subject or spend tons of money on that. There are many companies such as Tailor Brands that offer affordable branding solution to budding entrepreneurs around the world. In fact, Tailor Brands itself is a SaaS company that stood out from other startups with its state-of-the-art logo maker app that uses artificial intelligence.
4. Raise Capital
To grow your business beyond just a proof of concept, you need serious capital, and there are many ways you can get it. For instance, you can go with the most common option which is a business loan. In fact, there are many good reasons to apply for a business loan which include equipment purchasing, debt consolidation, professional website development, etc.
If a business loan isn’t an option, then you can also approach venture capitalists who you think might be interested in your company. You can also launch a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds from the people who are also your future customers. If your product/service is interesting and unlike anything else in the market, then you can have a huge success on platforms like Kick starter or Go Fund Me.
5. Spread the Word and Launch
To make your SaaS company successful, you also need to reach your target market as quickly as possible. So, you can try social media marketing, content marketing, or even publish paid advertisements on popular blogs and networks. However, to sustain your business, you also want to look into growth hacks such as rolling out a referral program, retargeting, offering free demos or trial versions of your services, etc.
Establishing a business is akin to raising a baby- you have to nurture it constantly and have tons of patience. So, if you want your startup to blossom into a giant enterprise, then you must never stop working on it even if the results don’t show immediately. Remember, challenges are inevitable but it’s up to you how badly you want success. If you will stick around despite the resistance, then you will emerge as a winner in the end.