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The Modern SaaS Entrepreneur - A Brief Overview

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It’s no secret that in this new era in which we live, being an entrepreneur entails a different adventure than it did in times past, especially for the SaaS entrepreneur. It is still a road fraught with obstacles and challenges, and one that not everyone succeeds in reaching the end of. It has its pitfalls and its risks to be certain. Yet, these pitfalls and risks are in most cases very different from what our forefathers faced when taking on the challenge of building a business.

Part of this is the result of the very nature of the type of business an SaaS entrepreneur is attempting to forge. SaaS, while not actually a brand new concept, is very novel in the eyes of the general populace and the business world. It’s only now becoming widely applied and adopted by consumers who until recently rigidly adhered to old software design concepts from a bygone, draconian era.

So, exactly what adversity must an entrepreneur staking out their claim in SaaS overcome, and what resources must they have to succeed? Let’s take a look, because it’s interesting to see what changes in business and life the digital lifestyle of this century has brought about so covertly.

First, let’s point out some of the things that never change. While the use of these resources has shifted to new paradigms, the fact that resources such as funding and personnel are necessary has not changed. Like I said, it’s what these resources are needed for that has changed, and we’ll touch on that primarily.

Personnel in an SaaS environment are primarily not going to be business specialists during a startup phase, though such expertise will be needed later on. In the early stages of this sort of situation, the bulk of personnel are going to be web experts, marketing gurus and programmers who can implement scalable systems. This differentiates from classical software startups where scalability comes later in design.

Marketing gurus will not be reaching out through traditional advertising means like classical models would require either, but will be working to define a specific business model in which your SaaS will be served. SaaS has a flexible series of business and marketing model choices to pick from, and we’ve talked at great length about a few of them in the past. This is a particularly big decision and one that you must have a dead set choice for before launching. You can shift to other models later, but not at the drop of a hat.

Funding for SaaS is also different from a traditional startup because of the nature of the business itself. Online business does not require a brick and mortar location from which all personnel may work. With cloud and mass communications systems in place, people can form a unified team from anywhere in the universe, though it’s probably unwise to hire Martians. They’re lazy.

The funding is going to not be put into locational facilities and equipment, but rather into facilities for hosting and serving. Like a traditional website, SaaS needs a hosting location with good processing power, computational facilities such as databases land language support, and a good amount of bandwidth. It also requires a noteworthy domain name, which is part of the difference in marketing identity versus classical marketing perspective.

Finally, while this isn’t a resource, one of the biggest challenges an SaaS entrepreneur must face is proving themselves. SaaS is a novel concept to many, and some are still unsure if it’s a viable or useful conversion from classical models. Despite the many blogs online pointing out the security, convenience and cost effectiveness of SaaS in business, many are shaky on the concept. As a result, SaaS designers must prove that their software is not only more convenient, but that it can do what traditional software of the same purpose can, not only as well but far better. Good luck, though this is far from impossible.

 

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Published at DZone with permission of Omri Erel, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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