I’m in the middle of building a new business on the back of my existing micro-saaS. I’ve been able to grow this company by an order of magnitude over the past two years and it’s time for me to take some risks with the next stage of growth.
My current product is a simple SaaS app that enables customers to manage their online store inventory from anywhere. This can be extremely useful for small businesses and entrepreneurs who need to keep track of their stock levels while they are away from their physical shop. They use the app to generate reports, send out sales emails, and take orders using their smartphones or tablets.
The problem I have is that there are thousands of competitors in this space already. The biggest names include Shopify (which is owned by eBay), BigCommerce, Magento, and others. It feels like every month I see another one popping up.
When I started my own company, I was excited about my “secret sauce.” I had built something unique that no one else could replicate. But over the past year, I’ve realized that everyone has figured out how to do what I’ve done. What I really want to know is if anyone has any tips or tricks they would like to share.
Here are 15 microsaas ideas you might not have thought of before.
1. Create a niche service for a specific industry
For example, if you’re in ecommerce, find a way to add value for people outside of your normal customer base. If you sell to real estate agents, create a tool that helps them manage their listings. If you’re selling products for pets, create a pet tracking system that sends alerts when their pet leaves the house. There are tons of opportunities here.
2. Build the next big thing. Everyone does this all the time
When the internet first took off, we saw companies like Amazon build entire shopping experiences around buying books and movies. Now, those same companies are trying to build whole ecommerce ecosystems. That’s why you see Amazon’s platform being used to power everything from car dealership websites to real estate websites.
3. Use social media to get more press
This isn’t as easy anymore because Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc… are all competing for attention. But if you’re targeting a certain demographic, try to figure out which platforms they spend most of their time on and then leverage them. You’ll probably get better results than if you just tried to compete with everyone.
4. Get featured in TechCrunch
This one is easier said than done, but if you ever want to get mentioned in TechCrunch or any other major technology blog, it helps to have a successful product that other people are talking about. And it also helps to get it featured somewhere on the site – like a product review or a listicle of cool stuff you think your readers will like. That’s why you see so many startups getting coverage on sites like Lifehacker and Mashable. The key to making it happen is to be able to show that people are actually talking about your product before you even launch it.
5. Try to buy another company and integrate it into your stack
This is harder to pull off now that there are so many well-funded startup acquisitions. Still, there are plenty of opportunities here. Just look at how Salesforce acquired HubSpot, or how Microsoft bought Yammer. Both of these were huge hits after being acquired.
6. Start a newsletter
This might seem like a strange suggestion, but it works. A lot of people don’t realize how valuable newsletters are until they stop sending them. If you’re going to focus on one particular topic, it makes sense to start a daily email newsletter that talks about that topic. Or, if your content is particularly good, you could start a weekly newsletter where you cover a different topic each week. People love reading emails, especially if they come from someone they trust.
7. Make a deal with a larger company
We live in a world of giants, right? So it’s hard to imagine starting a micro-saaS without partnering with a large company. The best deals are usually ones where you are taking on a customer base that is much larger than yours. So instead of competing against Shopify, try to partner with them.
8. Do a paid promotion
This is a bit trickier, but it can still work if you’re willing to spend money. You can go to Google AdWords or Facebook Ads and pay for ads that target people based on keywords they search for. Or, you can go straight to the source and offer a free trial to a few thousand potential customers.
9. Look for ways to give something away for free
I know, this sounds ridiculous. After all, you want to make money selling software. But the truth is that you should always be looking to give something away for free in exchange for something that will help you monetize later. Maybe you can offer a free account option in exchange for email signups, maybe you can give away a free course. Either way, you’ll learn a ton about your customers’ needs and how you can solve them.
10. Offer a premium version
Again, if you’re competing with a bunch of other companies, this may not be possible. But if you can carve out a niche and convince enough people to pay for your solution, it can definitely work.
11. Sell directly through your website
This is one of the easiest ways to make some extra cash. Instead of forcing people to register on your website and download an app, you can just let them pay you directly. You’ll be giving away a little bit of value to get a bigger piece of the action.
12. Go viral
This isn’t for everybody. Some people thrive on the idea that their product will spread itself across the Internet like wildfire. But if you’re confident in your offering, you should consider going viral. The main challenge here is that you’ll have to get a lot of people to talk about your product. But if you can do that, you’ll probably end up with a lot of traffic anyway.
13. Partner with a big brand
If you can convince a big brand to sponsor you or become a reseller of your product, you’ll instantly have a huge amount of exposure. Think about all the great brands that exist today, like Starbucks, Apple, or Nike. These companies have spent decades building their reputation among consumers, and they’d be crazy to turn that down.
14. Start a membership club
This is similar to partnering with a big brand above, but it doesn’t require a lot of upfront investment. All you have to do is set up an online storefront and charge a monthly fee. The beauty of this model is that you’re only charging people who are actively using your service, and you can easily convert people from paying members to paying subscribers.
15. Buy competitors
Sometimes, if you’re desperate, you should consider purchasing a competitor. In fact, I did exactly that earlier this year…
But if you’re reading this article, chances are that you aren’t desperate. If you’re truly ready to take the plunge, then you should first check out our guide on how to choose a micro-saaS company. Then, once you’ve settled on a specific company, you should read this article for five reasons you should never purchase a competitor.