I have a bit of a thing about SaaS for SME customers. There is a lot of excellent advice about the SaaS business model out there. SaaScribe itself recently highlighted the 5 Professors of SaaS metrics. More often than not the analysis and advice of these experts looks at SaaS for the enterprise. I believe there is a much bigger opportunity. Providing software to small and medium sized businesses. I also happen to believe that there should be a huge market demand. SaaS is the key to the SMB sector taking advantage of the digital revolution.
SaaS completely changes the rules of the business IT game. No matter how big your business. No matter where you are in the world. SaaS allows you to compete, grow and innovate with the best. Three big things have changed:
* Any company can now base their business on best in class software. For a few dollars a month anyone can access world class software applications. Accounting, sales, payroll and much more. As a simple example, check out this post. How one entrepreneur is running his business on SaaS.
* Reaching bigger or more distant markets used to be about financial muscle and shoe leather. The whole science of inbound marketing – search engine optimisation, social media, pay per click and so on – is now available at the touch of a smartphone screen. Even better, customers prefer this type of selling. The days of the high paid salesman and the multi million dollar marketing campaign are fading. Everyone can be a global player. SMBs have never had a better opportunity for growth.
* The SaaS market is also the basis of the sharing economy. This means many different things. One key feature is the emergence of shared IT elements. The cloud is an obvious starter. APIs, interdependent software and data applications and common software components link many SaaS apps. Not only can a small business afford the world’s best software. It can be integrated and work as one, almost without effort. Communication and collaboration are becoming essential to business success.
Starting and running a small business will never be easy. But SaaS is the key to overcoming many of the traditional disadvantages. Geographic isolation, limited resources and not being able to access best practices. These historic challenges can be tackled in new and better ways.
One concern remains. Businesses owners do have tough and busy lives. For many, their business is their life. Finding the time to take advantage of the SaaS opportunity is not simple. Awareness is a real issue. Luckily the SaaS model can also help here. Remember that SaaS is a short term, pay as you go model. There is no capital cost and there need not be a long term contractual commitment. Most SaaS companies offer a free trial of 14-30 days. So you may be able to test what works for no cost at all.
This means you don’t have to do everything at once. Instead think of a different approach. Write down your 3 biggest business problems. Do a quick google search and find the SaaS products that might help. Pick one and give it a try. Take one example. Appointedd offers scheduling software for small businesses which sell time. Salons, dog walkers, photographers etc. Users report that it saves them half a day of admin a week. Sounds good? There is a free trial as well. Not relevant? No worries solve a different problem.
You will need to make changes to take advantage of SaaS. These can be incremental and low or zero cost. The rewards can be great. Because there is little commitment, you can ditch things that don’t work. There is a whole world of digital opportunity out there for SMBs. Get out and give it a try.