The Software as a Service model has steadily been gaining in popularity in the past few years as both companies and users alike have increasingly turned to the Internet for services. SaaS sales reached $10 billion in 2010, with estimates for the future only getting larger. There’s never been a better time to break into the industry, so what’s stopping you from jumping in?
Before you take the plunge, though, Cory von Wallenstein, the CTO of Dyn, a company specializing in managed DNS, email delivery & SMTP solutions, has a few words of advice for you. He’ll be teaching his class, “Growing a Successful SaaS Business” at Intelligent.ly on Monday, November 19. Cory spoke with us this week to let us in on his expertise in this area. Read on to find out more.
What are the fundamental difference between SaaS and traditional web and software platforms?
Biggest difference, at least with traditional shrink-wrap type software, is you live and die by your renewals. It puts the “recurring” in “recurring revenue”. That impacts a lot on how you run the business.
Tell us about your work at Dyn. How did you grow bookings to over $36 million in just four years?
Identify a proven market. Build an awesome product that meets the need. Forge awesome, rock-solid relationships with your clients, and lock arms with them to help them build their businesses. They’ll return the favor in kind and help you build your business.
What is the most common mistake made when trying to grow an SaaS company?
Having release anxiety, where you don’t release until you think it’s perfect. The reality is it doesn’t matter whether you think it’s perfect or not, it matters if it solves a customer’s pain point sufficiently for them to open up their wallets, take the money out, and put the money in your wallet. I promise that whatever you find embarrassing about the product you built, there are folks out there that are more than willing to overlook a few rough edges if it helps them do their jobs. You’ll know what rough edges to fix later on by listening to their feedback.
If you had one piece of advice to give to someone starting a SaaS business, what would it be?
If you could learn any skill by tomorrow, what would it be?
Multi-tasking. I’m an engineer by degree, and a lot of my thinking is rooted in “focus on one problem at a time and knock it out of the park”. I’ve had to really focus on improving my ability to multi-task and pay a little bit of a attention to a lot of things, and to know when to dive in and when to stay out. And I’m still learning!
Learn how to grow your SaaS business. Sign up for Cory’s class today!