How to bootstrap and scale your SaaS startup in the RIGHT way

How to bootstrap and scale your SaaS startup in the.jpgsignaturec5f9a1cb32ab6956db07e873877bf818

As a bootstrapped startup founder, people often ask me how I decided which funding route to take when there are so many options for founders to consider.

While I do not have a short answer to this, there is one thing I can say: your funding choice must be based on the nature of your business and the product that you are dealing with.

The exact type of your business can be determined in a number of ways, but I find that 'Red Ocean' and 'Blue Ocean' can be very helpful. Surrounded by renowned industry theorists, W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne to classify all market strategies, the Red Ocean refers to when there are a lot of competitors and you need a lot of money to survive. However, the Blue Ocean refers to a very specific market where you would see a lower growth rate but survive with a very low investment.

While helpful, there is certainly no hard and fast rule for this theory - it's often just a situation.

Our first product, BizTalk360 falls within the Blue Ocean (no competitors, focused segment, and low messenger build cost) while our latest product, Document360, falls under strategy Red Sea. With that product, we are competing against companies like Zendesk, Freshdesk, Confluence, Notion, and so on, so we spend a lot on customer purchase for this product.

Now that I’ve given you a little background on where I come from, let’s get into what finally made me decide to go the bootstrapping route.


    The bootstrap decision

    The first product idea for BizTalk360 was seeded at the Microsoft Global MVP Summit in Seattle in February 2010. The first version of the product was warmly welcomed by MVP in 2011, which prompted me to officially launch the launch the same year. Within a year, we boarded 65 customers.

    As we started to launch new products, we kind of banked on the success of our previous products and reinvested in the company to fund them. Their own engineering, marketing and sales teams work on product development and customer purchasing.

    Today, our parent company has 1500+ customers. We did not have to seek external funding as all of our outputs are revenue generating.

    Great results will sell

    When we launched BizTalk360, we knew there was still a long way to go. Building the product was not a big challenge as I have the necessary technical knowledge. Selling the product was the hard part because I had little experience in doing so.

    I started blogging very early in my career. My blog used to be very technical in nature as I specialized in a particular area that is a BizTalk server and was gradually able to build an audience of 15,000 followers.

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    When I developed BizTalk360, the blogs helped me get my first customer (casino) all the way from Hong Kong, something I was not fully aware of to that point. While my blogging activities may have brought us first-time customers, it was the value of the product itself that kept customers loyal.

    So no matter how good your build is, the maintenance always comes down to quality.

    Scale at the right time

    In my opinion, most startups fail due to premature scaling. That's why you know when the scale of your startup is one of the most important decisions you will make as a founder.

    Most entrepreneurs just assume that, once their product is successfully launched, it's time to scale. But that is not how it works. The product needs to be monitored and improved from time to time to ensure that competitors do not get over it. Your product needs to scale along with your business.

    Because our flagship product, BizTalk360, is a unique segment, we have been able to become market leaders from the beginning and still do. The product matures completely in about twenty-five years and the goal was all about maintaining the product, attracting existing customers, and adding new ones. We then decided to diversify and move to new products, we just reproduced what had worked for us in similar situations.

    Another thing you should do is structure your work model and business process. You should have systems in place to effectively monitor the organisation's stakeholders and processes.

    But once you really identify problems through that study, you need to deal with them in the right way. Many startup founders believe that just hiring someone can magically solve all their problems, but let me be clear: it does not work.

    For example, hiring a Sales Manager is a rookie mistake when your product is not working properly. You have to be extremely patient and persistent in the process. Make sure your product is a marketable product before you consider scaling your startup.

    Scaling your startup may seem daunting at times, but there is nothing better than slow, steady, and organic growth for your startup.

    Look at your finances - cash flow, sales, cost, and revenue - before deciding whether to scale. Some things are easy to overlook when you are trying to control multiple things at once. Even then, you should have a detailed financial plan with forecasts for the future.

    The bottom line is: take time to lay the groundwork before taking your start to the next level.

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