3 Tips For First-Time SaaS Founders (2019)

If you’re thinking of building a SaaS product, you’re entering one of the most exciting times in the history of software.

It has never been easier to build and scale a multi-million dollar SaaS business.

So without further delay, here are my top three tips for first-time SaaS founders in 2019!

SaaS Tip #1): Build On Top Of An Existing Platform.

My single biggest piece of advice for first-time SaaS founders is to not build standalone software products.

Instead, build your software on top of an existing platform (one that offers a fast-growing app store eco-system).

For example:

Google’s Chrome Extension Store (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions)
QuickBooks’s App Store (https://apps.intuit.com/app/apps)
Slack’s App Store (https://republic-community.slack.com/apps)
Stripe’s Add-On Store (https://stripe.com/works-with)
Salesforce’s AppExchange (https://appexchange.salesforce.com)
Wix’s App Store (https://www.wix.com/app-market/main)
Shopify’s App Store (https://apps.shopify.com)
Microsoft’s AppSource Store (https://appsource.microsoft.com/en-us)
There are tons of app stores to choose from! 👍

Here’s why:

Benefit #1): Growth Is Easier.

Unlike building a standalone software product, you can leverage the organic eco-system of a platform’s app store to acquire new users.

For instance, there are millions of people every day who randomly browse the Chrome store looking for the next browser tool to make their life a little bit easier.

With some SEO tinkering, you can rank your Chrome extension as a “Suggested App” under popular Chrome extensions.

👆 The Chrome store recommends “similar extensions” at the bottom of each app description.

And if your product is rapidly gaining traction, there’s also the chance that your software will be showcased on the homepage of your platform’s app store.

Grammarly is the featured Chrome extension of the day.

Benefit #2): Increased Opportunity For Acquisition.

Oftentimes, large companies prefer to buy rather than build.

Which is why it’s not uncommon to see platforms acquire products within their own app stores.

Intuit acquires TSheets (a time tracking app in the Quickbooks store) for $340MM.
Apple acquires Shazam (a song identification app in Apple’s app store) for $400MM.

Don’t be surprised if the platform you’re building your SaaS product upon comes knocking on your door wanting to buy you.

SaaS Tip #2): Pass The “Toothbrush Test”.

The Toothbrush Test:
Is your SaaS product something that your users will engage with at least 2X daily?

One of the reasons we built MailTag on top of Gmail is because email is one of the few services that the average person engages with multiple times a day.

Think about it. There are probably only a handful of software applications that you religiously use on a daily basis.

Email, iMessage, iCalendar, etc.

If you build your software on top of an application that people use many times a day, your users are less likely to discontinue using your product.

Increased daily product usage = reduced customer churn.

SaaS Tip #3): Build Essential B2B Products.

In my humble opinion, the best SaaS products are “essential services” that revolve around helping your users accomplish two ultimate goals: Saving time and money.

For example:

  • Sales automation software (helps your users earn more money).
  • Automated accounting/bookkeeping software (saves your users time).

Building “non-essential” software products (such as those that revolve around entertainment, sports, etc.) are always the first to be canceled during times of conservation.

Enjoyed these tips for first-time SaaS founders?

Be sure to comment, share, & clap if you found this article helpful! 👏👏