There are many times you may need to bootstrap your saas business. You don’t like venture capital firms to enter into your business, you may not have networks over investment communities or even your idea is not much having a larger audience or market reach to attract venture funds.
So, reasons may vary from person to person. If you don’t want the pressure of external funding agencies and like challenging yourself every time, bootstrapping is the way forward. Whatever be the method try to make a difference in other’s lives with your idea and attach a purpose for it.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”. – Walt Disney
Before you think about starting something remember the above quote, try to bring a difference in others’ lives, so that you will be remembered forever. Being started my entrepreneur journey with a very little amount, I can write about how it is possible to start a business without having deep pockets.
Bring like-minded people to partner
When you have little money to invest, it is always required you to find people who are willing to work on equity. Especially if you are a non-technical person, you need a couple of technical guys to develop your idea. When I started to think about a business, I start approaching many people and finally the first person was my cousin who was a programmer to join my team as a co-founder.
This will also help in validating your idea, when you discuss it with potential partners you can see how they respond and understand about the market fit of the same with a second party opinion.
Enter into an existing market
When you have little money, it is better to start in an existing market, so that getting customers is fairly an easy process. Creating a new idea and a market is for those who have deep pockets with venture-backed funding. The creation of a new market involves a lot of activities that may need heavy investment.
There are no products in the market with 100% customer satisfaction, so you always have room for improvement and innovation. This is because no product out in SaaS can accommodate all use cases in a specific domain. Identify those areas of improvement and fit those gaps to launch your product, this works well for many.
Adopt distributed workforces
Most of the startups now adopt a distributed model, you don’t need a big infrastructure, big team, and expensive budget to achieve your goals. Try to have a distributed team with a remote workforce, so that you will get the best talents with the least infrastructure expenditure.
We have a lot of collaboration tools like Slack, GitHub, and zoom, where you can communicate like you are working together. Companies like Buffer or Automattic follow a distributive workforce culture. This will ensure that you will get the right talents without geography as a factor.
Follow a lean model
The lean startup model is the best way to minimize the risk of failure, you don’t need to build everything before you launch. Instead, do it incrementally by listening to your early adopters.
Never look at your competitor and build everything they have, instead focus on customers and deliver what they want. Big companies always fail there and you are likely to win more customers by this.
So, build a minimum product by incorporating any one or two features that others may not offer. Acquire customers and get feedback and then start iterating and adding more features. This way you can ensure that you are not investing in the wrong direction.
Make use of startup programs
Your SaaS product needs a heavy investment for maintaining the cloud infrastructure for sustainable and scalable growth. Remember the infrastructure plays a crucial role in your product success. But luckily there are many startup programs offered by many giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. These programs offer free usage of their infrastructure up to a certain period.
Make use of such startup programs that gives free credits and support, so that you can use it for your growth and initial customer acquisitions. These programs also offer a lot of other services like technical guidance, mentoring and sales consulting that is essential for your long-term growth.
Use referral marketing
Marketing is one critical piece of component that decides how fast you can succeed in acquiring early customers. Most of the launching programs or hackathons are having high investments and you may not be able to pull it through your tight budget.
Create a referral program for your customers to refer their colleagues and get a reward for that. This way, if they like your product, they will for sure refer their colleagues to use it. This is how many of the biggest ideas PayPal has gone viral.
Use social media extensively
15 years before it may be tough for you to find your target customers, but that is not the situation right now, you can find your target people hanging around such communities on twitter, Reddit, or LinkedIn.
Find out the communities where you can find your target customers. Hang around such communities, engage with members, and give back to the communities by providing your thoughts and insights. Use it for identifying your prospective customers and ask them directly to test your product. This is how most of the startups out promote their product initially.
Finally do personal branding
As a founder you need to have exposure to various networks and communities, creating a self-brand is equally important in marketing your product. People will always check about the founder profile and their vision; a proper branding strategy will define your internet presence well and reputed.
The best and cost-effective way to personally brand is to start writing stories, you can use any of the social media to publish your stories, but better to start an independent website to publish your stories. This will make you more exposed as a writer and create a public presence that can help in your startup growth.
Ready to Start something great?
Starting something from scratch is always great if you love challenges. But you should always keep in mind that it will not easy as you think, difficult roads always lead to beautiful destinations. Don’t jumpstart with an idea like many others do, chances are that you may fail terribly as 90 percent of the new startup fails. Think over it, and identify the right people to build it and chase it with a purpose and passion, definitely success will follow you.