I'm an experienced B2C & enterprise SaaS product leader; with over a dozen product launches, 3 acquisitions, and 14 years of marketing under my belt. I specialize in product strategy, UX, customer research, and helping you find impactful, sustainable growth opportunities for your business.
At this stage, my recommendation would be to focus on 2 things: 1. getting to your first $1 as fast as possible, and 2. understanding the language of the users that are convinced enough to pay you at least $1.
Talk is cheap, and (speaking from experience) directly asking people whether they'd pay for something you made is one of the most misleading (and easiest) user research mistakes you can make.
Step 1: Create a pathway to facilitate receiving your first $1 - create a pricing package/tier for your product, and a way to make sure people are aware of it when visiting your website, or returning to use the product. Like literally, stick a price tag on your product, and see who bites - you can change it at any time, and remember that both positive and negative feedback around that price means that *people actually care*. This is a great result - engage deeply with the haters, they often have even more to tell you than the contented fans.
Step 2: Once the payment pathway is built, track how many people are making it through to the end, i.e. actually paying you. It's ok, if that number is 0 - keep tweaking your pathway until you get to 1+.
Step 3: Talk to the people who pay - like, *really* talk to them. Call them up, even make the effort to visit them in person. Understand their needs, how they solved for those needs before your product came along, the specific language they use to describe your product, and why they stopped using it (this will inevitably happen).
Step 4: Use this knowledge to establish and widen your customer acquisition channels - the language they use should be reflected in your marketing copy, the channels you use to acquire them should be reflective of where they go to find solutions for the problem(s) your product solves, and you should prioritize in the short term fixing/improving the things that caused those early paying customers to leave.
This formula doesn't work forever - it's a kickstarter iterative process for pre-revenue products, that helps you establish the main signal of fit between what the market demands, and what your product provides. Establish that first signal, then widen the bandwidth =)
I hope that's helpful! I'm happy to chat if you have additional questions. ~Jason
I've sold a number of SaaS businesses and acquired a software business in October.
There are several main avenues:
1. Self-fund - Either take money out of your own pocket, or sell assets you own
2. Take a loan - Friends, family or banks. Expect lower amounts from friends and family (depending on what circles you travel in), but more favorable repayment terms. Flip that around for banks.
3. Take on a funding partner - Give someone a piece of equity in return for them investing their funds into the biz
4. Bootstrap with profits from another business - Use cashflow generated by another business to finance your next acquisition
5. Earn-out option - I've heard of some folks setting up a deal with the owner of the business where they pay a partial sum to acquire the business, then pay a portion (or all) of the subsequent monthly profit after ownership changes hands, for either a defined amount of time, or up to a certain amount to the previous owner, in order to "earn out" the rest of the balance due.
6. Find a suitcase full of cash down by the river ;)
7. Work-to-own - Going out on a limb here, but if you were in possession of a skillset that was valuable to the business, you could conceivably offer to work for equity, instead of getting paid for your time. Strictly a theoretical scenario, but I'm just thinking outside the box here.
I hope that helps! Feel free to gimme a call if you have more questions about this. ~Jason
I've used UserTesting (and its service Peek), as well as other user behavior analysis tools like HotJar, Crazy Egg, etc.
To answer your questions:
1. Do you use such services? If so, what do you choose?
// I use them to either confirm or reject hypotheses I have about my product's/business' performance metrics, and gain ideas as to how I could improve them. Best example: my team's goal was to increase the %age of users successfully making it through our onboarding process. We collected a handful of videos via UserTesting, and gained dozens of insights into ways we could simplify and clarify the process - and it resulted in a significant jump in our conversion rate.
2. How you choose it?
// Being in the web/UX design industry for a while, I'd heard of them before (via following relevant Twitter hashtags and UX blogs), and mentally bookmarked them until we had a need. Did a quick price comparison first with other similar services, then decided to pull the trigger. My primary decision criteria were: 1. How much is it? 2. How quickly can we get back data/results, and 3. Are we able to find good-quality, targeted participants that are similar to the kinds of users we're going after?
3. What was the main problem of using such services?
// I don't think we were able to find exactly the types of participants we needed, but we had pretty specific criteria our first time around. Once we relaxed our requirements a bit, things were smooth from that point onwards. This was probably a couple years ago, though, so I would imagine their pool of participants has expanded significantly in breadth, diversity and available targeting criteria since then.
4. If you didn't use it, tell me please why?
5. Will you use such services in future?
// Yep, absolutely. It's one thing to look at the analytics to try and figure out why people aren't doing what you want them to do in your app/on your site; it's a whole other thing to *actually see* what individual users are doing, and hear their rationale in real-time.
I hope that helps - feel free to gimme a call if you have any other questions! ~Jason
I acquired my first monetized app from the original developer in October last year.
There are a ton of app and website brokerages out there, with a wide range of quality available - be prepared to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince Charming!
I originally purchased my app business through Empire Flippers (empireflippers.com), and couldn't have been happier with their process and quality, but they've been gradually upping their minimum asking price for listings - I think they currently stand at ~$25k right now. Flippa.com is probably the biggest and best-known brokerage out there - I've used them several times from the sellers' side. They have tons of apps for sale at ~$5k (and lower), but tread carefully and do your due diligence: there are tons of scam and copycat apps out there by sellers who intend to take your money and leave you with a lemon. QuietLight and FE International are also fairly well-known website/app brokerages, although I can't comment as to the quality of their listings, not having personal experience with them.
You can also approach it the other way, by searching for the kind of apps you want to acquire, and contacting the developers directly to ask them whether they'd consider selling.
Hope that helps, and congrats in advance, the journey you're about to embark on is a really exciting, educational (and humbling) experience! =) I love talking about this stuff, and am happy to answer more questions, so feel free to set up a call, if you're interested. ~Jason