Table of content
What is SaaS?
SaaS (Software as a Service) are applications that are delivered and managed through the internet, rather than having to download, install and maintain it yourself. Other terms SaaS companies go by are web-based software, hosted software or on-demand software.
The popularity of SaaS has exploded over the past few years as they make the process of using software much more convenient for its users.
According to Statista, in 2021 there was about 25,000 SaaS companies and the SaaS market is expected to grow as companies continue to apply SaaS solutions for their essential business functions. These solutions include; enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), eCommerce and webhosting.
What is a Saas Company?
A SaaS company hosts and manages their software through the internet through a server that its users access remotely. This software can be accessed through multiple devices such as desktops, laptops, ipads and tablets, as well as smart phones.
Most customers sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription fee to access their services and the fees can vary based on factors such as; data needs, number of users and levels of technical support required.
Examples of SaaS companies include:
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS is a cloud computing service that allows companies to run their applications using their serves rather than having to build their own infrastructure. Some examples of PaaS companies include; Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine, Amazon Web Services.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is a software that is accessed online and paid through a subscription instead of being installed and maintained on a person's individual device. Some examples of SaaS companies include Google WorkSpace, Salesforce, Airtable, Notion and ZenDesk.
Micro SaaS is a SaaS business that is built with a specific niche market in mind. It is generally designed with no outside funding and built to assist a small business or group. Some examples of Micro SaaS companies include; SolidGigs, Grammarly and Plausible.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is the ability of a computer, robot or app to complete tasks that are typically completed by a human. SaaS AI companies allow this benefit without a huge initial investment to develop the software. Some examples of AI SaaS companies are C3.ai, Domo and Microsoft azure.
A SaaS startup is a company that develops an online service available through the internet to meet the software needs of companies. Some examples of SaaS startups include; Salesforce and Databricks.
Blockchain as a Service (BaaS)
Blockchains are a shared ledger that records and tracks the assets within a business. A BaaS company is a cloud based company created to aid in the management of blockchains. Some examples of BaaS companies include; solarisBank, ClearBank and IBM.
Customer Relationship Management SaaS (CRM)
A CRM SaaS company helps businesses manage all of the varying customer reactions such as; leads, sales, marketing and customer service. Some examples of CRM SaaS companies include; Microsoft Dynamics 365, Pipedrive and Hubspot.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
An ERP SaaS company runs the data center for a business online instead of having to purchase and install the software on each device. Some Examples of ERP SaaS companies include; Oracle NetSuite and Sage Business Cloud X3.
Benefits of SaaS:
Customers like SaaS because there are so many benefits of utilizing them over traditional software, which can be a pain to install and everything has to be housed centrally, increasing initial costs exponentially. Additional benefits of SaaS include:
SaaS has the amazing ability to be scaled for any sized company because it is cloud-based software. Larger companies benefit because it's generally less expensive and easier to download on many devices.
It also means a scale in the cost as well, which is great for small and medium businesses. In addition to paying less when you have less users, many SaaS software companies will also allow you to add and remove features that are not necessary for their business model.
SaaS companies have the ability to operate remotely, which has so many benefits for both the user and the developer. It allows for global access which means developers have a huge customer base and buyers can search for the best companies without worrying about location.
In addition, because the software can operate remotely, it means even if the developers are not available, transactions can still go smoothly for the user.
Adaptability is one of the greatest assets for both the developer and customer and makes SaaS software the most competitive. Shifts in business models, industries and customer needs happen all the time and can happen quickly. SaaS gives the ability to make changes to software fast and implement them right away without long disruptions to services.
This is cost-effective for business and creates long-term users for SaaS companies.
Some additional benefits of SaaS include;
- Lower initial implementation costs because you are not having to download software for all devices.
- Easier maintenance because updates can be made to the software through the cloud and be updated at convenient times for businesses.
- Investors like SaaS because it is easier to sell than traditional software and the sales pools are larger, which can make it a more lucrative investment.
Risks of Saas:
While there are many benefits to SaaS, there are also some risks associated with cloud software which include;
- The ability to cancel immediately: Using a subscription-based model means that if a customer is not happy with the service they can immediately cancel vs. the old model of paying a lot of money upfront, so having a more longterm investment in the product.
- Building trust as a new company can be difficult, especially when it is cloud-based and they don't see customer service with their own eyes.
- There is an increased risk that technical issues or security attacks will be father reaching since all active users are housed in one cloud-based space.
It is important to address these concerns, not only on the sales process, but throughout the user experience to ensure that the customer base will remain happy and comfortable with the product.
The SaaS business space will only continue to grow and the opportunities to create and build upon current companies has so many advantages. Some SaaS ideas that could be utilized for creators today include:
1. Virtual Assistant (VA)
This tool is essentially SaaS tool that helps you comprise tasks that help you reach a final goal. a VA will analyze the web for public information and help the user come up with an action plan based on their final goal.
According to Fortune Business Insights the artificial intelligence VA market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 33.6%, making it a great SaaS startup idea.
Many people know the end result they are looking for but lack the skills to come up with a goal to make it happen, a VA could revolutionize this process.
2. A High Quality and Freelance CRM
Customer Relationship Managers (CRMs) are necessary for many business models and existing software has room for improvement. Freelance CRMs are similar to traditional CRMs as far as their purpose, except freelancers are handling much of the work, rather than it being all done in-house.
Freelancers can come up with the best ways to track a company's interactions and integrate analytics, marketing and reporting to help with best practices and continual improvement.
There are not great options for freelance CRMs within the US and it could prove to be an incredible tool and amazing SaaS idea.
3. Social Media Management/Analytics
Social media is a central part of everyday lives, to the point where many are using it as a focal point of their careers. Celebrities and companies now pay others to manage their social media accounts and utilize them for marketing purposes. This can be a daunting task, which is why it can produce many profitable SaaS ideas.
Creating a tool that can streamline the social media workflow when used for marketing, while also automated analytics reporting tools could revolutionize this space.
Not only could companies save money, but they could ensure their marketing efforts are successful and help them properly utilize social media as a marketing tool.
4. Video Editing/Rendering
Video editing and rendering is no longer a process available and utilized by only those in the entertainment and commercial marketing field. Videos created for social media marketing by every day users of social media are a huge marketing opportunity right now and would benefit from an automated software that utilizes an algorithm to create a video using photos and texts. These videos could then be sold for a fee and used as needed by the account holder.
Because there is nothing like this in the market and it is something that could be utilized at an individual and company level, a startup like this could be a huge opportunity.
5. Marketing Automation
Marketing is one of the most important aspects that can make or break a company, especially a startup. There are no great solutions currently that help to streamline the marketing process and measure marketing success.
A SaaS startup that automates marketing workflow would be an amazing opportunity to help companies succeed. The platform would ideally automate all digital marketing such as; emails, social media, SMS, while also measuring the success of each initiative and tracking leads and referrals where necessary.
6. Property Management Platform
If you have ever rented a unit or home from a multi-residence company, you know one of the the most frustrating part is communicating your needs to property management. There are solutions online, but not many options for a one-stop software.
A property management platform would help its users with every part of the rental process from applications, to lease renewals and maintenance requests/cycles, to tracking payments and accounting. A SaaS idea that covers everything would truly have competitive advantages and draw the interest of investors.
7. Automated Accounts Receivable or E-voicing
Software that automates the accounts payable process is invaluable. Previously, software has been downloaded on work computers and not available on all devices. Since this has changed, it has become a huge opportunity for SaaS startup ideas.
A cloud-based option would aim to improve invoice management by improving accuracy, reducing fraud and streamlining the approval process.
8. Cryptocurrency Exchange
Crypto platforms are gaining popularity as more people are interested in digital currency. Though there are some platforms available, there is room for improvement as this space continues to grow.
A SaaS product would want to be user-friendly and have its users be able to purchase, trade and convert various crypto currencies in real time. Another feather that would attract clients would be to have available training, as many new crypto users want to learn to manage their accounts themselves. SaaS business make money in this space by charging annual fees and taking commission from investors.
9. NFT Marketplaces
Non-fungible tokens or NFTs is a digital embodiment of a physical asset created and recorded on a blockchain that allows it to be sold and traded.
NFTs are a huge industry that are growing at a rapid rate, which makes them a great SaaS business idea. Bringing a SaaS based startup to this space would be incredibly lucrative and welcomed by NFT users that don't have a lot of options.
10. Micro SaaS
Because micro SaaS business ideas are for specific niche markets, there is a lot of opportunity to create new platforms. One of the greatest benefits is you can look into a similar company and platform and use a modified version to better suite a specific niche.
Generally, the first iteration of a micro SaaS should take no more than 6-8 weeks. Find your target niche and look for ideas that fill missing features, or exclude irrelevant features that slow a current platform.
11. AI Writing Assistants
Paying a human for all of your writing needs cannot only be expensive, but because of human error, it can require extra time to rewrite and edit. Therefore, an AI writing assistant would be full of excellent SaaS tools.
Content creation would be more automated, would be automatically spell checked and n the proper format. Having an AI streamline this process would increase readability scores and help companies be more successful with their content creation.
12. Password Manager
According to Earthweb the average person has around 100 passwords and because of data leak issues having the same password for multiple logins can be dangerous. SaaS software development in this space could be utilized at both a company and individual level and would be incredibly lucrative.
This idea would require password protection and a secure storage that aids in the creation of unique passwords for every account. To ensure full safety a two-factor authentication would be required to protect the password account and ensure security.
Telehealth has been around for a while, but the growth of Telehealth visits exploded during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Providers can treat their patients online allowing them to see more visits, while also saving money for the under-insured or non-insured populations.
One thing that has lessened their popularity in older populations is the lack of accessibility. Many medical offices used different methods of teleconference and ensuring they meet privacy standards can be tricky.
Startup companies can definitely improve this space by creating a SaaS software that can be used by anyone with a smart device. Connecting business owners, providers and patients on one platform would be the goal. An opportunity to simplify this space and make the Telehealth process easier would be welcome and lucrative.
14. Free Image Platform
Of all the Saas business ideas, this could serve as a resource to the largest population. Marketing campaigns often have the right content, but lack the visuals required to catch their target audiences eye, and they don't necessarily want to pay for those images. In addition, an individual doing a presentation often doesn't find what they need in stock photos.
Having a platform for free images would be widely used by a variety of people and is something lacking within SaaS businesses today.
Much like virtual visits, Elearning has skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic. But again like Telehealth, the space is missing an innovative SaaS Elearning platform that delivers everything you need in one place.
The ultimate platform would not only allow global access to the topics you want to learn, but would also allow access to tutors within the space as well. In addition, educational materials and mock exams would be hugely beneficial to anyone taking a course online or in-person.
How to come up with your own Saas idea:
When coming up with innovative SaaS ideas you want to start by looking for problems that need a SaaS solution.
Once you determine the problem can be solved by SaaS applications, you'll want to ensure that the SaaS product you create will have the demand and opportunity for continued growth and retention of customers.
Also, don't look for something entirely new. Look for something that has has already existing software that needs improvement. Building off of existing ideas and making them better ensures more success.
Finally, make sure you know how to properly market your SaaS product and have a marketing strategy in place. Many startups fail because they don't properly market their platform and use keywords for SEO.
How to validate your SaaS idea:
Once you have a SaaS product idea, you want to validate that it will be successful. Before development begins you want to reach out to potential clients with your idea. This can be done through focus groups, questionnaires and social media campaigns.
Another option is to create a landing page and allow pre-orders for your SaaS solution. The conversion rate generate from this process will allow you to determine if you SaaS product will be successful.
Once, you have deemed it worthy of creation, the next stage is creating a Minimal Viable Product or MVP. MVPs will allow you to demonstrate proof of concept for investors, gain feedback from initial users and make necessary modifications where needed and create a website and put your marketing strategy in place.
Only once this process is complete should you begin the expensive and timely process of creating your product and starting SaaS software development.
SaaS is the Future
The SaaS space is going to continue and the opportunities for startups are endless. SaaS ideas are drawing the most interest and attract not only investors but customers looking for efficient online solutions to their problems.
What are the benefits of a SaaS product?
SaaS is different from traditional softwares because rather than being installed onto a device or server, users access it through the internet. For users, there is a lower upfront cost and most will pay a monthly subscription fee that can be scaled based on the size of their company which makes it very appealing.
For creators, an internet-based software means your user base is much larger because you have a global reach. Features can be added as markets change, so your user retention is more likely, as you will stay relevant within your industry.
How do I create and implement successful startup ideas?
There are so many startup ideas available online, make sure you look for something that is not a new idea, but something currently available that needs improvement. Once you have selected an idea, test a MVP with a target audience to showcase the new design and functionality and ensure it is what they are looking for.
It is also a good idea to create a prototype before building the full version so it can be tested on users and stakeholders. A marketing plan should then be created and launched before the release of the product. Only once these moving parts have been put into place, should you create the final product.
Who needs to be on a SaaS startup team?
There are 6 roles that need to be filled within a SaaS business. They include:
1. Customer Success Manager/Product Owner
This role will ensure that customers are brought on and retained because they are satisfied with the product.
2. Marketing Manager
One of the major reasons startups fail is lack of effective marketing. This role brings in consistent new leads to continue to grow your company.
3. Chief Technical Officer
This role is essential and far reaching. CTOs help with the creation of software, data centers and security, and also ensure the product contains all the necessary features, while running smoothly.
4. UX Web-designer
The designer ensures that the user experience is excellent and helps to make improvements throughout the creation process and after the product is launched.
5. Sales Manager
This role can be filled by the creator, however, you want to make sure you are actively working to build sales and communicating with clients to ensure customer satisfaction.
What is Micro SaaS?
Micro SaaS is a SaaS company on a much smaller scale and will typically only have a team of about 1-3 team members. The team creates a niche product that will attract a small population of dedicated users. The ideas usually build off existing technology and seek to fix a problem within the industry.
What is an AI Virtual Assistant (VA)?
AI VAs assist in managing and automating every day work, help administrative tasks be completed more efficiently and help to measure employee engagement all through a SaaS software platform.