Q: What are some advice for people who want to create a SaaS startup?
My top pieces of advice:
- Slow it down if you don’t have a great co-founder and need one. Solo founders can work sometimes (see, e.g. Zoom, Twilio, etc.). But if you need one, it’s better to take your time and find a great one. A bit more here: A Simple Commitment Test For You And Your Co-Founders | SaaStr and here: If You Don’t Have a Truly Great Founding Team, Just Take a Pause. Don’t Start Your Start-Up Yet. | SaaStr
- Budget, somehow, at least 24 months to get to a viable business. It almost always takes longer than we hope. Make sure somehow, someway, you can keep going from Go for at least 24 months. Even without funding, etc. A bit more here: If You’re Going to Do a SaaS Start-Up … You Have to Give it 24 Months | SaaStr
- Do at least 20 potential customer interviews. Even if you think you know the market, you will learn a ton. If you don’t, you’ll build the wrong 1.0. A bit more here: Planning to Do a SaaS Startup? Don’t Forget the 20 Interview Rule. | SaaStr
- Make sure you have a “10x feature” vs the competition — that customers will pay for. A clone (alone) is rarely enough. Almost all software is sort of a copy of what came before. But the winners are more than that. A slightly improved version of an industry leader is rarely enough. Even the top leaders have gaps though, gaps that matter to paying customers. Important pieces of white space that they just aren’t chasing (e.g., certain market segments, or verticals, or use cases, or workflows). Are you doing something truly 10x better than the competition — that folks will pay for? Are you sure? A bit more here: The 10x Feature is Real. At Least, for a While. What’s Yours? | SaaStr
- Make sure you’ll stick it out, even if the product and customer base change a lot. We don’t always know where a start-up will go. You might end up having to do sales yourself. You might end up working with tiny customers. You might have to build features you think are boring or don’t matter. Are you OK with that? More here: In SaaS, You Have to Love the One You’re With | SaaStr