How to Save Money with SaaS and Four Other Bootstrapping Tips
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1. Get in the middle of SaaS wars and run away with a bunch of awesome freebies.
Software-as-a-service is a multibillion dollar arena that attracts a good number of businesses on a monthly basis, all of them trying to get a chunk of the humongous pie. In order to gain traction and some brand visibility, these SaaS companies usually offer free subscription packages to their target consumers.
An example is Asana, a project management application that’s free for businesses with twenty employees or fewer. Another is Bitrix24, the fastest growing social intranet that offers CRM that’s probably better than 95% of paid CRM. And then there’s Wave Accounting, now known as WaveApps, a free accounting software that offers unlimited expense tracking and invoicing.
For any facet of your business – web conferencing, time tracking, online marketing, etc. – there virtually is a free SaaS that’s waiting to be discovered.
2. Go global by going regional. Take the “exotic” currency route.
If you want your business to be truly global, accepting bank transfers, credit cards and PayPal for your currency needs isn’t enough. Did you know that in Eastern Europe, WebMoney is more widely utilized than PayPal? In India and Pakistan, MoneyBookers, or Skrill, is enormously popular. And if you’re planning to do business in China, without AliPay or TenPay, you won’t go far. Also, certain digital currencies, like BitCoin, attract a huge following given their global appeal.
3. Niche is good – yes, even with crowdsourcing.
As you are probably aware, crowdsourcing comes with a host of benefits – freeing your calendar of mundane tasks and activities and getting qualified professional help at cheap rates. However, if you want a specific job done, all-around crowdsourcing sites like oDesk, Elance, Guru or Freelancer may not be your best bet.
If you haven’t already heard, there are niche crowdsourcing sites like PickyDomains, 99Designs and PopTent. For your video marketing needs, PopTent is a site consisting of over 64,000 video professionals from 140+ countries. If you’re in need of a logo, the best place to go is 99Designs. You can purchase a ready-made logo from its logo store for just $99. For your branding needs, like a domain for a website or brand name for a product or service you’re launching, PickyDomains has a pool of over 50,000 naming professionals from all over the world. If you choose to use one of their suggestions, you pay $50. If not, you pay nothing.
From customer prospecting to legal issues, remember that there is a niche crowdsourcing site for you to use. To find the best ones, all you need is a little research and some asking around.
4. Not enough funds to hire a PR firm? Do it yourself with LinkedIn InMail.
If you’re bootstrapping your business, spending thousands per month for an established PR firm that can get you published in tech publications may sound like too much, mainly since there aren’t any guarantees. A better alternative may just be upgrading your LinkedIn account and taking full advantage of its InMail functionality.
Basically, InMail is an option that allows you to send out messages to anybody with a LinkedIn account, even those you aren’t connected with, like journalists, editors-in-chief and publishers who can help with your brand’s visibility. What’s cool about this option is you only get charged for those InMails that the recipients actually read.
When using InMail, remember not to send out press releases. Instead, use it to pitch suggestions, ask questions or inquire about your chances of writing a guest post for them.
5. Go frugal with “frugal” sites.
Given the state of the world economy, Groupon and other money-saving sites will never go out of style. And because you’re trying to squeeze maximum value out of every penny you spend, “frugal” sites like AppSumo for business tools and services should come in handy. Even Reddit got r/frugal and r/freebies. And don’t forget RetailMeNot, where you can frequently find coupons for your business.