How to build a SaaS company?

SaaS (Software as a Service) is a modern way to build a software company. The best thing about SaaS is that your company is immediately scalable and probably international. Internationality depends on the service you are providing, but also on many other factors. Scalability is something you must understand on a deeper level if you want to build a Saas company.

But is your SaaS company scalable?

People who want to build a SaaS company usually forget to plan processes and functions on the assumption that the current business will still run smoothly even if it suddenly gets ten times as many customers. Okay, that would still be manageable, even though you might have to make some phone calls to the customers after an order, and maybe copy-paste some data from here to there. Sounds doable even with some manual work, but it is not scalable. Imagine when you get 1000 or 10,000 times more business. At that point, any manual work will jam up your processes and drive off your customers.

Always compare the work with the income

When building a SaaS company, it is common to do sales by working long, hard hours. However, you should keep in mind that each new customer has a price tag. The price of each customer is the work you need to do before getting the new customer or project. If you must work a lot for a small amount of income from the customer you need to consider if you are selling to the right market or if there are other ways to bring in customers with less work.


At some point when the business starts to grow you must also consider if it would be better to reduce the manual work and concentrate on some other sales tactic. In the beginning every new customer is good, but after a certain level you shouldn’t put too much effort into small or single deals. At this point you should use your profit on more productive sales models and media.

Do it internationally

If your service is international by nature you should build everything to support international markets from the beginning. Going international doesn’t mean that your website is in English. It means that you do localisation for the markets you are trying to reach. Localisation is a whole other subject, but let’s just say that you have to at least support international means of paying for the service, you have to understand how the customers would like to use your service where they are, and so on.

Think far ahead, but not too far

Try to always think one step ahead when you implement something. The key questions are: will this work tomorrow, will this work when I double my business, when will the business be too big for this implementation? If you have plans to get funding always remember to build everything so that it will not became an issue at the moment of due diligence. Keep a close eye on your competitors, but don’t get frustrated if they get the funding or if they seem to be better than you. There are a lot of excellent, huge companies in the world that never were the best in the market, but they still made it. Being the best has little to do with who actually makes it.


However, try not to think about things that aren’t relevant to your business. By this I mean that it’s good to build hype for your business, but don’t believe it yourself. Always understand that the hype is for marketing and everything else is just hard work. Always remember that you are the sole reason the business will succeed or fail. Think big, but don’t dream of Lamborghinis. Thinking big means that you will always be able to take much more business in than what you have now.

Fail fast

Remember that failing is always an option. Don’t fall too deeply in love with your business. The business is not your child, it is your work of art, which can fail. Always keep in mind that if the customers don’t buy it and you are losing money fast there must be something wrong. Then try different strategies, but if they bring about the same results you must keep in mind that failure might be the only option. Listen to what your potential customers say. Ask for advice and listen to people with an objective mind. This doesn’t mean that your business idea is bad, but if the people just aren’t ready for it there is little you can do.


Take only risks that you can live with. Do not enlarge your risks beyond the point of no return. There are some things in life you should never take risks with. These are your family and your health. Fail before you put them at risk.


Tuomo Saarni