Question about building local saas?

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So I'm wanting to get my feet wet in the industry and I'm thinking about targeting local businesses. I would like to just get some feedback on my idea. One positive I can see of having a local SAAS vs international is that it could save companies a lot of money since the currency exchange rate is fluctuating.

So basically my question boils down to, is it worth building a local version of a saas? I'm looking to put my programming skills to the test and feel like this is a good way to learn how to manage a saas etc.

Side note: I checked out the competition on the specific idea I had and they all look pretty crap, poor design in both software and landing pages so I feel like I can execute better
 

DD1

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I am far from being an expert, but this is what immediately draws my attention:

It looks like you have the programming and the competition analysis done, but you haven't talked much about how you are going to market your idea, who is your target customer, price points, timelines, and so on.

Have you taken these topics into consideration? Can you juggle all these balls at the same time?
 

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I am far from being an expert, but this is what immediately draws my attention:

It looks like you have the programming and the competition analysis done, but you haven't talked much about how you are going to market your idea, who is your target customer, price points, timelines, and so on.

Have you taken these topics into consideration? Can you juggle all these balls at the same time?
Besides thinking of ways I could traffic leak, searching for forums where my target audience would be (I’d be targeting local businesses) that sort of thing, I haven’t really got a solid plan yet. I’m going to do some proper research when I get home tonight, but do you think having a local version of an existing Saas is a valid idea?
 

DD1

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Besides thinking of ways I could traffic leak, searching for forums where my target audience would be (I’d be targeting local businesses) that sort of thing, I haven’t really got a solid plan yet. I’m going to do some proper research when I get home tonight, but do you think having a local version of an existing Saas is a valid idea?
My short answer to your question is yes, I believe you can make it work. Being a local, you could be in a position to understand the market and your customer better and faster than any foreigner. You could also provider faster answers to your customers needs.

(Keep in mind I am not a programmer and I am a terrible marketer at best, while other forum members have successfully built services.)

My long answer goes below.

In my personal journey, I am currently reflecting, deeply, about what I want. Building a SAAS myself plays a role in that. I have read the excellent "If you were starting all over again" thread* started by @Asad and @Ryuzaki 's answer was especially helpful. I'm quoting it below:

Simplify Everything
Remove as much friction as possible everywhere, because friction and complexity are the enemies of scaling. Create a general post template type for your site and stick to it. Make sure image posting and formatting is simple, interlinking is simple, headings are simple. Everything must be simple and similar. Because...

Outsource Heavily
By this I mean scale right off the bat. Because everything is simple, you can get content written and posted easily and fast. And you can train people to do every step along the way for you. This will let you focus on big picture tasks that inform the simple, scalable tasks.

Start at the Conversion
Don't start a site and then figure out how to make money. Figure out how to make money and then start the site. Build everything around that conversion, whatever it is. This also needs to be simple, for you and the user. If you're going to demand a lot out of yourself and the user, then the revenue per conversion needs to be astronomical. This will interfere with scaling unless you dominate that friction through more outsourcing and automation. Otherwise, make the conversion simple so you can focus on scaling.

Are you better off making $25 RPMs at 100,000 visits a month, or $100 RPMs at 30,000 visits a month? The latter is more money but how long did it take to get there and how close to your traffic cap are you? I'm doing the earlier version this time around so I can keep things simple. Because everything is narrow in focus and simple to do, all I have to do is focus on scaling content production.

Link Acquisition Sucks
I grinded my last site out to a current DR 50 from a freshly registered domain. Screw that. It doesn't guarantee a thing in today's SERPs. Shortcut that and buy a non-dropped, aged domain with juicy links. Then you don't need to worry about links and when you start to need to worry about it, you'll be getting them naturally from SERP exposure plus your other marketing you're doing.

Buy Interested Traffic
Social media is where the traffic is, and you want it on your site. You can play around trying to do organic marketing or you can just use the PPC platforms to buy the traffic. If you did everything else right, you should be able to get an ROI, which means you can print money. If you do it real well it's almost like arbitrage. This mass exposure will net you links too.

Have Milestones, Track Metrics
You have to know where you're going. This also stops you from getting distracted and off-course. You need to track the metrics from everything so you know what's effective so you know what to scale and what to stop spending time on.

Forget Interest, Seek Money
Since you're barely in the trenches due to all the outsourcing, who gives a damn if you care about the topic. Get paid. I don't even care if the writers care, they're getting paid to get the work done, not care. When you care, you start being a perfectionist and completionist, which will interfere with scaling.

Scale Hard & Fast
Competing is absurd when you can dominate completely. You can do this by outpacing your current competition, grow past them, and then double down even harder. Your output should be so monumental that they get exasperated, panic'd, freaked out, and despondent, which leads to them lowering their output. Later you can even buy them out. But you can't do this without coming out of the gates like a mad man and keeping that pace forever, never slowing down.

Invest, Invest, Invest
All this outsourcing means investing. Go deep into the red at the start. Pour the revenue right back in for a while. Do everything you can to hit where you normally would in 3 years, but hit that in 3 months. You might lose some money, but you saved 2 years and 9 months finding out it doesn't work sooner than losing all that time which you can never get back. And since you're not a complete bafoon, you'll eventually re-coup your money on the project anyways. It may just not be the one you can sell for a million, but you can probably sell it for $250k after you get back your investment. It'll be a win regardless.
In all honesty, I think my situation is the mirror image of yours. I'm currently planning the marketing angles I want in my SAAS. I know the services I want to offer. Here's a quick SWOT of my situation:

Strengths
  • I have contacts, high up on a worker's union and in some private companies in the sector, of a certain class of people.
  • These guys are getting used by everybody else in the market - private companies, banks, even the government is playing against them, even though these people provide a public service that's very useful. My service will help the union to stand their ground and the little men to provide for their families. Instead of these guys working by themselves against the world, I want to help them streamline their workflow and be the one-stop shop for all their needs.
  • I am not greedy, so I am willing to give access to a fine product that I was planning to fulfill my own needs, if I were to enter that market as I was planning before.
Weaknesses
  • As I said, I am not a programmer, and I am a terrible marketer. I am planning to hire the first half of the equation and to rely on instinct and market knowledge to compensate for the lack of experience on the second.
  • The network hasn't been reached in the past 12 years. But since I will provide all people involved with a good opportunity to make money and retain political power, I am thinking I can put the long time aside with the value I am providing.
Opportunities
  • I have access to the people who can give me access to their lists, and then I can market to the entire country at once.
  • I have a network of people to build training videos on how to make the best use of the tool.
  • As far as I understand, all current tools in the market only target the final consumer (B2C) who is looking to make a purchase based exclusively on price. I want to help businesses (B2B) reach the consumers who are sold on benefits.
Threats
  • Not getting access to the list of potential buyers of my product (unlikely, but I can still market directly to them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, and so on)
  • Not getting access to the companies who sell the product I want to offer (also unlikely, but even is some of them didn't want to engage with me, there are a big-enough number of them so this is also not a concern of mine)

So, my goal at the moment is to make (tons of) money and hire people to do the parts I can't do.

I hope I have provided some insight to your particular situation. Good luck.
 
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You should remember that everything is global now, especially for SaaS. You may be targeting your local market, but further down the line, there is nothing stopping a foreign competitor from offering their services to your customers.

Since you are B2B, you would have the advantage of being on the ground, talking to clients directly, giving direct support, etc. But if a competitor comes rolling along with more funds and engineers, be prepared for a hard fight, especially since you are limiting your revenue to your local market, and your competitors are not.

You would have the edge of knowing local tastes and customs, but why limit yourself (and your revenue) when the marginal cost of an additional user for SaaS is so low?
 

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You should remember that everything is global now, especially for SaaS. You may be targeting your local market, but further down the line, there is nothing stopping a foreign competitor from offering their services to your customers.

Since you are B2B, you would have the advantage of being on the ground, talking to clients directly, giving direct support, etc. But if a competitor comes rolling along with more funds and engineers, be prepared for a hard fight, especially since you are limiting your revenue to your local market, and your competitors are not.

You would have the edge of knowing local tastes and customs, but why limit yourself (and your revenue) when the marginal cost of an additional user for SaaS is so low?
That is a good point. I guess when I think about it deeper, it comes down to is me struggling to find an angle for myself within the space. Another thing I was thinking about doing is going through reviews on these foreign companies, selecting all the 1-3 star reviews and trying to determine patterns on what these customers feel is missing, then implement that solution in my own product.
 
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I guess when I think about it deeper, it comes down to is me struggling to find an angle for myself within the space.
Take your time to do a proper market analysis. If you move forward with it, it'll take up a huge chunk of your time and attention. Don't move forward until you've validated that there's a market.
 

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Thanks @DD1 and @FIREman for the advice, guess I'll go back to the drawing board for a bit and keep doing research on industries I'm interested in. I'd much rather have a product that targets the whole world vs staying local, so I guess I shouldn't settle for less and try rush things.
 

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You should remember that everything is global now, especially for SaaS. You may be targeting your local market, but further down the line, there is nothing stopping a foreign competitor from offering their services to your customers.

Since you are B2B, you would have the advantage of being on the ground, talking to clients directly, giving direct support, etc. But if a competitor comes rolling along with more funds and engineers, be prepared for a hard fight, especially since you are limiting your revenue to your local market, and your competitors are not.

You would have the edge of knowing local tastes and customs, but why limit yourself (and your revenue) when the marginal cost of an additional user for SaaS is so low?
A bigger global competitor could also mean an exit strategy. Start-ups get acquired all the time for their dev teams, patents, market share, and so on.

If they are willing to dump money on local development, they could also be willing to buy my customer list. Give me half in cash, half in stocks and I'll head your local unit for a certain period of time or become a consultant for your chosen boss for whatever length of time and transfer all my knowledge about the local market.
 

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@built, this is going to sound like a crazy and whacky idea, but consider it: Have you gone and talked to your potential customers? Face to face?

Go talk to 9-10 of them. You’ll find out a lot about their needs and build actual relationships with them you can leverage and will make it less likely they will leave you since you took time to talk to them about their needs.

Potential upside:

#1: you learn where you can potentially market to them since they’ll tell you about their industry and things they read, forums, or meetups they go to.

#2: you’ll gain insight to their operations and see more potential than you would and potentially find that unique angle that will set you apart.

#3: the relationship you build can allow you to expand faster and have a ground game like no other so future competitors cannot simply enter your market without a serious struggle. They can introduce you to other potential customers. You might find there is one vendor that supplies all their XYZ and becoming friends with them can potentially gain you access to the whole industry.



You guys under-estimate the power of knocking on doors and face to face. People want to deal with people they can see, feel, and touch when giving large sums of money too, especially if their current industry is based off of similar interactions.

The question you have to ask yourself is: what do you have to lose? Nothing, cause you’ve got nothing of value now in that industry anyways.
 

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@built, this is going to sound like a crazy and whacky idea, but consider it: Have you gone and talked to your potential customers? Face to face?

Go talk to 9-10 of them. You’ll find out a lot about their needs and build actual relationships with them you can leverage and will make it less likely they will leave you since you took time to talk to them about their needs.

Potential upside:

#1: you learn where you can potentially market to them since they’ll tell you about their industry and things they read, forums, or meetups they go to.

#2: you’ll gain insight to their operations and see more potential than you would and potentially find that unique angle that will set you apart.

#3: the relationship you build can allow you to expand faster and have a ground game like no other so future competitors cannot simply enter your market without a serious struggle. They can introduce you to other potential customers. You might find there is one vendor that supplies all their XYZ and becoming friends with them can potentially gain you access to the whole industry.



You guys under-estimate the power of knocking on doors and face to face. People want to deal with people they can see, feel, and touch when giving large sums of money too, especially if their current industry is based off of similar interactions.

The question you have to ask yourself is: what do you have to lose? Nothing, cause you’ve got nothing of value now in that industry anyways.
I haven't, I haven't actually decided on a vertical/niche yet. I have a list of ideas of what I would like to build, so I can go around asking questions for each and then decide on the best. I could also lie and say I'm doing this as part of my varsity course which may help get more feedback.

If you could only ask potential customers 3 questions, what would they be?
 

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I could also lie and say I'm doing this as part of my varsity course which may help get more feedback.

If you could only ask potential customers 3 questions, what would they be?
There is no need to lie. Why even think that? If someone is trying to come up with a solution to your problem, as a business owner, wouldn’t taking 30 mins to talk to them be more beneficial versus talking to some kids about some homework?

You are HELPING THEM, you are solving a problem for them, there is no need to lie or waste time.

#2 the questions are going to be different for each vertical. I thought you had a vertical already in mind. Going broad with questions is useless. You need to do the research first for each vertical.

You can get to the root of each problem by asking “Why?”

There are always bottlenecks in a process, why?

If you are a-bit more specific then I can help more.
 

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There is no need to lie. Why even think that? If someone is trying to come up with a solution to your problem, as a business owner, wouldn’t taking 30 mins to talk to them be more beneficial versus talking to some kids about some homework?

You are HELPING THEM, you are solving a problem for them, there is no need to lie or waste time.

#2 the questions are going to be different for each vertical. I thought you had a vertical already in mind. Going broad with questions is useless. You need to do the research first for each vertical.

You can get to the root of each problem by asking “Why?”

There are always bottlenecks in a process, why?

If you are a-bit more specific then I can help more.
I see your point. I took some time and decided on a niche, I'm interested in building a personal trainer crm SaaS. I figured this would be a good idea because I can leverage my connections in the gym already and I'm fairly knowledgeable about training others. Also been trying to help my friend who is a personal trainer get online since he has no idea how
 
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@built, this is going to sound like a crazy and whacky idea, but consider it: Have you gone and talked to your potential customers? Face to face?

Go talk to 9-10 of them. You’ll find out a lot about their needs and build actual relationships with them you can leverage and will make it less likely they will leave you since you took time to talk to them about their needs.

Potential upside:

#1: you learn where you can potentially market to them since they’ll tell you about their industry and things they read, forums, or meetups they go to.

#2: you’ll gain insight to their operations and see more potential than you would and potentially find that unique angle that will set you apart.

#3: the relationship you build can allow you to expand faster and have a ground game like no other so future competitors cannot simply enter your market without a serious struggle. They can introduce you to other potential customers. You might find there is one vendor that supplies all their XYZ and becoming friends with them can potentially gain you access to the whole industry.



You guys under-estimate the power of knocking on doors and face to face. People want to deal with people they can see, feel, and touch when giving large sums of money too, especially if their current industry is based off of similar interactions.

The question you have to ask yourself is: what do you have to lose? Nothing, cause you’ve got nothing of value now in that industry anyways.
+1 on talk to them... talking to just 10, you'll quickly get a sense of is this really a big frustrating pain or just something "sort of inconvenient"

former is hell yeah, latter is a big no no

and oh talk to people who actually have money