Almost all modern companies are interested in digitization and its growth potential. But what happens when our entrepreneurial and innovative spirit intersects with the opportunities of digitization?
More and more professionals and organizations are playing with the possibility of having their own business software, either for internal use or to offer it commercially.
The prevalence of SaaS in our business fabric has a lot to do with this. SaaS stands for Software-as-a-Service or, in Spanish, software as a service. Even if you think you don’t know this term, the reality is that you are a recurring user of more than one SaaS product , be it for personal or professional use.
For decades, SaaS development has been the preserve of large companies with generous budgets and dedicated software development teams. However, not only have development costs dropped dramatically, but tools have also appeared that allow us to create amazingly complex software without having to know programming (we’ll explore this possibility below).
Beyond the possibilities in the internal sphere, developing our own SaaS means creating a digital product with the potential to solve a problem for thousands of users in a scaled way . The magic of the software is that we can help countless clients without having to hire a corresponding number of employees, dramatically increase the infrastructure, among other problems that exist when a company grows.
In this article we will explore how to start a SaaS business and how this industry has evolved to open the door to creative entrepreneurs.
The Opportunities in SaaS
We spend more and more time connected to the internet , using digital tools of all kinds. Many times this is not a simple whim: our professions demand it.
In this way, software has become a vitally important element in our lives. The current state of the economy, with all the benefits and benefits it offers, has evolved to such an extent thanks to the work of innovators that they have been able to take advantage of available technologies to create smart tools that make our lives easier.
If you are a member of Shortnews247, you only have to look at the example of our mobile APP that facilitates the management of our activities and referrals , a key resource for our employers. How would we have managed the hundreds of references that we produce each year before the APP? Paper and pencil? Spreadsheets and email messages? The reality is that these resources are no longer sufficient for a time in which our number one asset is data.
Perhaps you already knew this, but even so, you have probably considered software development as something exclusive for experienced teams of engineers or for entrepreneurs with a large amount of capital available. The reality is that this has changed over time, creating more opportunities for everyone.
Let’s see how, if you have an idea that you are willing to play with, you can enter this sector. Here we will give you ideas on how to start a SaaS business.
Identify the Problem to Solve
It all starts with a problem that requires a solution. Perhaps it is a problem that you or your company is suffering from and, for one reason or another, cannot find a ready-to-implement solution.
Perhaps the available solution is too expensive or complicated, inappropriate for your situation, in a different language, or simply fixes part of the problem and ignores another. If this is the situation, you or your team may be able to envision a true solution . It is in this creative exercise that ideas for software are born.
This is the case for those who look inward, towards their own projects and their problems. For many, this is the way. However, this option has its own challenges. For example, we may be looking at a problem that only we and a few others really suffer from, making the market too small to make a profit. Unfortunately this happens more than we would like. That’s why we have plan B.
Have you observed the needs of the market? What problems are other companies facing? Under what conditions do organizations try to compete in a sector you know? It is likely that very close to you, entire teams are suffering from a problem and that you, with a digital product, can solve it.
Research the Market: Demand and Available Solutions
If you have an idea (or several), it’s time to investigate . Fortunately, in the digital economy, all information is just a few clicks away. Now it’s about will and concentration. Research, research, research. Obtain a good amount of data and draw conclusions about the state of the market.
You need to know what the demand for this solution is and what other digital products exist to solve this problem. It wouldn’t be the first time we thought we had a great idea for a SaaS product but soon after we started researching, we discovered that there are multiple options already available in the market. Do not be discouraged, as this is the nature of the business.
At the same time, that a SaaS product already exists, offering the solution you propose, is not the end of the story. Evaluate the state of that business, how it is doing, how it communicates. Do you think you can do better? Develop a better product? Have better marketing? This is always a real possibility.
There is an important condition in the SaaS world and it is that many interesting projects with potential die before being profitable because their founders are programmers who neglected the marketing and sale of the product. The result? A product that never reached the market with the necessary strength to attract the attention of its customers. Why not take advantage of the opportunity? With the right marketing, you can turn your own situation around.
Consider the Technical Implications
This is the most intimidating stage of the process. How to develop software?
During the last decades, the extraordinary work of software development has been demystified. These professionals with extraordinary abilities to solve problems and build digital products are still very much needed in our economy. However, in recent years, the advancement of trading software has created new possibilities.
For example, new technologies allow developers to work and collaborate more easily, creating software much faster. This has dramatically lowered development costs for entrepreneurs and companies by delegating technical work.
However, the most interesting option right now is the No Code / Low Code option . This is the possibility of creating our own software with the help of software . A growing trend, SaaS products in the No Code and Low Code categories are allowing thousands of entrepreneurs and companies around the world to create their own tools, both internal and commercial, without the need to invest thousands of euros.
The reality is that a few years ago it would have been difficult to recommend these products since the end result was questionable, with much lower quality than custom-developed products. However, this has changed significantly.
Software like Webflow , Airtable , Bubble and Notion are good examples of SaaS products that allow us to develop our own solutions without having to know how to code . Of course, as the complexity of our projects increases, the need to learn the most advanced details of the tools will increase, which is natural. But the big advantage is the intuitive design and the vast amounts of learning material that exist for these tools.
In 2022, there are already multiple companies worth billions of euros that started a SaaS business with the use of No Code and Low Code tools. If the idea is good and we invest the necessary time and work, we could find the right business.
Manufacture a Minimum Viable Product
Many products have died before seeing the light. You know why? Because its founders wait months (or years) to allow their digital product to see the light of day. Seeking perfection, they ran out of time or consumed all the resources they had.
The smartest thing we can do at this point is to produce a Minimum Viable Product of the software we want to build and test it in a controlled environment. The Minimum Viable Product is a usable basic version of the product that we want to create which we can offer to a small number of users, so that we can receive feedback and improve from the first moment.
With a Minimum Viable Product, economically developed with No Code tools , and some marketing, we can reach a small number of first users and receive extremely valuable feedback to determine our next steps in the project.
One of the more practical benefits of doing this is that we can validate our idea. This is the perfect time to find out if our solution really is what we thought, before investing more resources. The longer we wait to validate the idea behind our product, the greater the risk of loss. Or maybe the idea is good but the way the app is designed is not: this is the time to find out.
Conclusions on How to Start a SaaS Business
The most important conclusion is that today, more than ever it is possible to start a SaaS business . The tools are there, as well as the information to use them properly. The evolution of available technologies does not stop and the state of No Code and Low code tools is increasingly surprising, with final products that really question the need for custom development.
However, it is fair to make a clarification: we do not believe that software developers and engineers are going to be replaced in any way by No Code and Low Code tools. We believe that each one has a clear and defined market, with developers working on more ambitious projects that require greater complexity.
In many cases, many functional SaaS products are born through No Code initiatives and, once validated and present in the market, receive the necessary investment to be treated by software development teams that take it to the next level. This is an increasingly common case and it is presented as the most intelligent option at an economic level.
Whatever the case, it all starts with creativity . If we have an idea, now is the perfect time to explore how far it can go and how it can be turned into a real SaaS business.