5 Essential Things to Know When Starting a Software Business
There are probably a million things to do that are easier than starting a software business. We know that SASS founders face a steep task when starting up so here’s our list of tips for software business founders.
1. Don’t focus on creating a “perfect” product
Getting started can be one of the hardest things to do. Most notably, when you already have a concept and heading into beta or thinking about building your model that you will showcase to potential users and investors. It can be easy to get caught up in trying to showcase the perfect product.
We recommend focusing on your core offering and just that. This is going to be the bread and butter for your business and should be all you need to prove commercial viability. If you’re solving a problem your target audience and investors will see the value and will give feedback on what your product needs to get to the next stage. We suggest having a realistic product timeline readily available to showcase the potential growth. Listen to feedback and build out your offering based on what the market actually need and not what you think it does.
2. Define your goals and map out a strategy
Highlight SMART goals for your business and map out a strategy of how you are going to achieve them. This might sound very basic, however, it is one of the most important things you can do for your business early on. Otherwise you’ll have no way to measure if your investments and efforts can be considered as successful.
When it comes to SaaS, data rules. The more information you have on your product, competitors, and customers, the better. Use analytical tools to decide on where to head and how to head there. Always make data informed decisions and benchmark your efforts against industry standards.
3. Automate and outsource your work
Founders often believe they need to have a hands-on approach with everything in the early stages of their business and that could be true and necessary for the technical part of product development. However, much of your early stage sales and marketing should be automated and outsourced (without compromising your business personality). With the abundance of sales and marketing automation tools online, you can do much more than you think. Implement a CRM that can grow with your business, an email automation tool for both sales and marketing emails, find freelancers to help with social media and content generation. The sooner you start these the better. This is the stage where you figure out what works for your business and its customers.
4. Build an open and honest community of potential product users
The start-up tech space is filled with “thought leaders” and “industry experts” who all claim to have the key and the relevant know-how on which direction to take your startup. Some of these individuals will be valuable, however finding the right fit for your product or company might prove a challenge. In our opinion, what better advisory board than a community of your target audience? Before you reach a stage where you are selling, it is better you ask for potential customers questions and feedback.
Ask questions about how they would like to be approached and the sort of communication they are more likely to respond to. What are the steps they would take to become a user of your product? What are the signs they would look for, and what will be their qualification process? With just a simple LinkedIn message explaining your goals you can obtain some constructive feedback from potential customers.
If we take a look at the top 10 reasons why start-ups fail, the most consistent will be building something no one wants. By getting customers to buy your product before it is even launched or upgraded to a new version before it has been released you’ve achieved legendary status.
Pre-sales are not only great for you to know you have a product that the market will receive but also give you and your team the confidence to move ahead. More importantly, pre-sales serve as one of the best ways to attract investors and raise funds.
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