Cloud technologies have already become a foundation for the software infrastructures of many businesses. According to Gartner, around 75% of companies and organizations will use the cloud as the key platform in their digital transformation. There are different cloud service delivery models, like SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, that can satisfy the needs of businesses of different types and sizes. Being a SaaS software development company, we can stay tuned with all the latest trends in the cloud tech market. Today, we can observe the growing popularity of micro SaaS among startups.
The SaaS model, which is Software as a service, presupposes that people can get access to cloud-based applications over the Internet without the necessity to download them to their computers or mobile devices. But what is micro SaaS?
Universal solutions that can cater to the needs of a vast audience have a lot of benefits, but the micro SaaS model offers something opposite to them. Its growing popularity takes its roots in the increasing demand for customizable and highly flexible software tools that can address niche requirements. This concept is comparatively new, and over recent years, we have observed a surge in the interest in such solutions.
In this article, we’d like to discuss this model based on micro SaaS examples. Moreover, we share some promising micro SaaS ideas that may inspire you to launch your unique project.
What Is a Micro SaaS? More Details
When our clients (and especially startups) have plans to create an app and turn to us to get custom software development services, sometimes they need more understanding of the exact type of software that they want to build. After we enumerate possible options relevant to the provided requirements, the question “What is micro-SaaS?” is not rare. Despite the popularity of this type itself, the term is not widely known to people.
In this context, “micro” refers not only to the solution but also to the business that provides it. Such a business is managed by a small group or just one person. The user base is also quite limited. Micro SaaS projects are often launched without external funding, and their realization does not require serious investments. Why is it so? The answer is quite simple. As such products target only small groups and address niche requirements, their creation and maintenance won’t be associated with using many resources.
To deliver healthy ROI, these projects do not need to set and achieve impressive monthly recurring goals, which makes them look very appealing to numerous entrepreneurs today. Once the project is well-established, the team that launched it will have a minimum amount of work related to its running.
However, we do not want you to think that if your risks are low, you can just build a micro SaaS without any specific efforts and investments and enjoy huge incomes. Unfortunately, this scenario is possible only in fairy tales. In real life, to get profits, you need to work hard in the initial stages.
To build a profitable project, you should have a reliable, well-thought-out product. Yes, these solutions will solve only one task (which sounds simple), but they have to do it perfectly, much better than others.
There are two core principles that you should bear in mind while building your micro SaaS business:
- Your software should address a particular problem, and users should be ready to pay to solve it.
- Before building your product, you should already find its future users.
The second principle sounds surprising but it has substantial grounds. How can you understand the niche problems of a particular domain without communicating with those who work in it and identifying their pains?
The preparatory stage of any micro SaaS development project is a very responsible phase that can significantly determine your future success. That’s what makes such projects specific. However, if you are ready to accept the rules of this game, you can leverage all the advantages of launching software of this type.
Let’s see how Geomotiv can help you with its realization.
Benefits of Micro SaaS
Even if, at the moment, you don't have any micro SaaS business ideas, it will be helpful for you to have a look at the list of benefits that you can enjoy if you decide to opt for this model one day.
- High speed of software development. As we’ve mentioned above, despite the small size of the solution itself, the planning stage can be a rather time-consuming process. Nevertheless, the time required to realize a “micro” project can’t be compared with the time investments for building, for example, huge enterprise solutions. When you have already determined your niche audience and understand what problem you should address with your future tool, the development process itself will be relatively straightforward (such apps usually have a somewhat limited set of features), primarily when you rely on a team of professional programmers who have excellent practical skills and rich expertise.
- Low costs. When you offer a narrow service, you do not need to assemble and further support a big team. Few people will be enough so that labor costs won’t be high. The situation with development costs is just the same. The creation of a micro SaaS product won’t be expensive. Just compare. When you want to establish a SaaS business, you will need to invest in product development no less than $30K-$40K as a starting point. In the case of a micro SaaS project, you will spend nearly $10K-$15K to build a solution.
- No dependency on location. Successful micro SaaS examples demonstrate that founders and teams can be based in absolutely different corners of the world and still seamlessly run a micro SaaS business. It’s a cloud-based business model, which means that not only the team can work from anywhere, but also users can be based in any location across the globe.
- Complete business ownership. As a rule, such businesses are established without any external investments, which means that founders execute complete control of their products, brands, and goals. And there are no stakeholders who have any ownership rights.
Are there any risks related to the launch of a micro SaaS project? Definitely, yes, as well as when starting any other business. However, they are comparatively low, which can be an additional benefit of this project model.
Will this model be a good option for everyone?
Given all its advantages and peculiarities, this business model can become a perfect choice for startups and entrepreneurs who don’t have teams and are ready to manage such projects alone.
As for users, audiences for each micro SaaS product are somewhat limited, which makes it easier to operate such projects, modernize them, and adjust to changing realities. As we’ve mentioned above, it is essential to understand who and how will use your future solution to ensure that it will fully correspond to the existing requirements and perfectly cope with the set task.
Successful Micro SaaS Examples
To create your micro-SaaS ideas, it will be helpful to look at some of the most successful businesses built following this model.
Zendesk. This product is definitely among the most well-known ones in this category, and today, it boasts very high popularity among different companies. It is a platform that allows users to manage various tasks related to customer support services quickly. Thanks to the tools offered by this software, it is possible to seamlessly build and maintain interaction with customers employing different channels and ensure excellent visibility and synchronization of all acts of communication.
PDFShift. Converting HTML pages into other formats, like PDF, could be a tricky process, especially when it is crucial to maintain even the slightest detail. But PDFShift can help to solve this problem. It helps to convert website pages into PDF via API instantly. The solution can work with widely used programming languages like Ruby, Python, PHP, Node JS, etc. To attract new users and retain the existing ones, PDFShift offers a free trial, as well as free credits every month, with the possibility to upgrade the chosen plan easily.
SocialBee. Today, social media is considered one of the most powerful marketing channels, especially in the B2C segment. Some businesses believe that the main challenge in social media marketing is to create exciting and valuable content. However, this is only partially true. More is needed to deliver high-quality content. It is also vital to know how to get valuable insights from social media platforms and the interaction of users with your account by analyzing such metrics as follower growth, engagement, etc. There are better ideas than processing all the data manually.
Moreover, while your account is growing, it is becoming less and less possible to do it without any specific tools like SocialBee. This software provides audience demographics insights, competitor analysis, and much more. Customers of SocialBee can choose one of the most suitable pricing tiers following their needs and the type of analytics that they want to get, as well as the number of social media accounts that they have.
Carrd. This solution is another micro SaaS example. Carrd is a platform for one-page website creation. It has a lot of templates that users can choose from. The variety of options is extensive, which allows everyone to find the most suitable variant. Users can start working with the service for free, but to expand their possibilities, they can switch to freemium packages. The paid plans provide premium features such as customized domain names, integration of Google Analytics, and others.
Plausible. Web analytics is one of the most efficient tools for businesses today. Companies need to use a reliable solution that will provide valuable insights into the performance of their websites. Though Google Analytics is one of the most widely used solutions, it has some limitations and drawbacks. Plausible is a successful micro SaaS product positioned as an open-source and lightweight alternative to Google Analytics. This software guarantees 100% privacy of the businesses’ and visitors’ data.
SolidGigs. This platform differs from other micro SaaS business ideas on our list. While all the previously mentioned products are targeted at businesses, this software was built for freelancers to help them find jobs. The main benefit of this platform is that it takes job ads only from the most reputable sources.
Storemapper. This micro SaaS business is aimed at helping companies create custom maps with indications of their stores. Such maps allow people to look for stores of a particular brand in their location. Businesses can embed such locators directly on their websites. For users' convenience, Storemapper offers a 7-day free trial for each package.
Invoicy. With all the possibilities that modern technologies can offer today, it is not feasible to create invoices and send them to customers manually. That’s why there is a row of apps that provide relevant functionality for automating these processes. Invoicy is one of them. It has all the necessary features for generating customizable invoices. Once created, they can be converted into PDF format and emailed to customers. All these actions can be performed in just a couple of clicks, allowing to streamline these tasks and increase overall productivity.
Micro SaaS vs. Traditional SaaS
When you are considering various micro-SaaS ideas, you must understand the difference between this model and traditional SaaS clearly. We offer you the opportunity to analyze the following parameters that will help to highlight the peculiarities of both models under consideration.
- Target audience. While traditional SaaS businesses always try to reach a broad audience by targeting multiple market segments, the micro SaaS model doesn’t presuppose working with a general category of users. Micro SaaS businesses always focus on niche markets and address their needs. For example, it can be an accounting software product for retail companies.
- Product idea. When talking about regular SaaS, we mean a big feature-rich product that offers various tools. Though it may look quite appealing for users, they may need not more than a couple of all the available options. As for micro SaaS, everything is much more straightforward. Software of this type provides one specific service, like an automated email tool, for example. This app will allow users to set email lists and timing, but other features are not added.
- Funding. To launch a SaaS product, businesses must invest significant amounts of money. They must create and maintain sales, customer support, marketing teams, and others. Moreover, the development of a product itself is expensive. In the case of micros SaaS, all the associated costs are lower. It means that such projects are usually launched without any external investments.
- Market competition. Traditional SaaS businesses face serious competition in the market and need to fight for their clients and market share. As a result, their management teams need to carefully plan their strategy and invest time and money in their promotion. Micro SaaS segment is known for limited competition. Why does it happen so? As each business of this type wants to address a specific niche and can offer unique products, the number of other companies with similar ideas won’t be high.
- Customer service. SaaS companies usually need to hire a person (or a team of specialists) who will be responsible for providing customer service. Sometimes, such services are outsourced. In the case of micro SaaS, very often, the founders themself will be responsible for direct communication with potential and existing product users.
- Prospects for growth. This point is quite controversial as all the cases should be viewed individually. Everything always depends on the peculiarities of micro SaaS ideas and the approach to their realization. However, in most cases, when there is a good idea and the team behind it knows how to operate a business, the project will have an excellent chance to succeed and gradually expand its user base. SaaS businesses always face pressure related to their expansion and growth not only because of the market competition but also because of the necessity to interact with external stakeholders and investors who have expectations related to their product and business.
- Profits. When building a SaaS business, you should be ready to face a situation when you must survive only on VC funding, as it will be practically impossible to get profits in the first weeks and months. However, with intelligent allocation of these funds, it will be possible to start earning revenue from your project. As we’ve mentioned above, micro SaaS products usually do not have any external investments, which means that businesses need to work only with the money that they have. In this situation, entrepreneurs need to be good at planning and controlling their expenses. However, with relatively mild competition, outstanding micro SaaS business ideas can start to generate revenue rather quickly.
Let’s briefly summarize the key differences between these two models based on the benefits and peculiarities of traditional and micro SaaS discussed in the previous sections.
|Niche market segments
|Solution with numerous features
|No separate departments
|Dedicated specialists or team
|1 person and more
|50-100 specialists and more
|Shared ownership with external investors and stakeholders
At Geomotiv, we have outstanding expertise in building solutions for different target audiences. Just share your ideas with us!
How to Create Micro SaaS: Key Steps
To achieve success, it is essential to have an excellent idea, but as suitable micro SaaS examples demonstrate, it is also crucial to build the project realization process correctly. To help you better understand how the flow should be organized, we’ve prepared the following step-by-step guide. We highly recommend you carefully consider it just to make sure that you won’t occasionally skip anything.
Moreover, it will be helpful to get a good understanding of your future steps in advance because you should decide whether you will need to rely on any external help. Though it is possible to launch such a project without any external support (if you have someone who will be responsible for software development), sometimes it is better to delegate some tasks to somebody else. That’s why, by estimating the required efforts, skills, and knowledge, you will understand how to plan the entire work on the project.
Step 1. Ideation. The first step of any project is finding a good idea that is worth being transformed into an actual product. When it comes to micro SaaS businesses, there are no exceptions. You also should elaborate on an idea that will bring real value to its users. For some projects, it is entirely okay to decide on the product you want to build and then determine the target audience (and adjust the product to their needs). However, with micro SaaS products, it won’t work. You need to understand what exact problem you want to solve, and as you will need to deal with a niche segment, even before formulating the idea itself, you will know who will use your solution.
When launching a micro SaaS project, it is essential to detect the right audience and build your solution and its features based on the needs of potential users. When making a traditional SaaS product, you will have more flexibility because you work with a broader market. With niche segments, everything should be ideally suited for them. That’s why it is necessary to allocate enough time and effort for determining the correct market segment and shaping the idea itself.
How can you find an idea? You can start by studying users’ pains. It is recommended to read some niche forums, attend business events, or just communicate with friends working in different industries. Let’s imagine that your friend works as a consultant at a travel agency. He may share with you that at their company, they have a lot of issues with their document management system because it doesn’t have any specific features that will be valuable for the travel industry. Such complaints can become beneficial insights for you as a micro SaaS product can address precisely such issues.
However, even if you feel that you have the most excellent idea ever, you need to validate it to make sure that your intuition won’t let you down. Thanks to proper idea validation, you can avoid many risks related to the product's launch that can’t solve the set tasks or will not be user-friendly enough due to the complexity of the offered functionality.
We have a couple of tips for you on how you can validate micro SaaS ideas:
- Check whether your idea is unique. You can google what solutions with similar functionality for the same market segment exist. If you see that there are very similar tools, you will need to analyze whether you can make your app stand out from the row using its unique interfaces or specialized features.
- Detect how your solution will address the existing pains. For example, you may offer simplified interaction with your app, while other similar products could be more precise. Or you may add some functionality that other apps do not have.
- Turn to professional online forums or groups and ask users to validate your idea, share their opinions, and try to predict whether they will want to test it in their work. This move is an excellent initiative to promote your solution further.
Step 2. Determination of the functionality of your future app. When you know what tasks your app will fulfill, you will be able to decide on the features that it will have. Here, everything depends on the exact niche segment and target group that you want to address. For inspiration, you can use the already existing solutions with similar tasks that were built for other market segments.
Step 3. Selection of the suitable pricing model. When creating your software product, it is evident that your desire to help users is only one side of the coin. Your main goal is to make money and expand your business. That’s why you should think about your pricing strategy, which will always depend on the specificity of your product, your target audience, and the way users will interact with your solution. Your pricing model should look appealing and engaging for users, while the functionality of your product should be valuable enough so that people will be ready to pay for it.
What are the most popular pricing models among micro SaaS businesses?
- Per-user model. This model presupposes that the price will be calculated in accordance with the number of user accounts that will be created for a particular company. Subscription fees per user can be paid either on a monthly or yearly basis.
- Flat price. If you choose this model, you are ready to provide all premium features at a fixed price.
- Usage-based payment. In this case, the price will be formed based on how often, how long, and how actively the app is used. The more it is used, the higher the final price will be.
- Tiered model. In this model, you must create plans (tiers) that will include different features, opportunities, and licenses for users. You can offer some packages for smaller teams and more prominent organizations. It is crucial to consider the needs of different groups to make sure that it will be comfortable for everyone to interact with your solution.
Even when you have the best solution, when you are just entering the market, people may be somewhat suspicious. That’s why it is rather senseless to expect someone to be ready to pay the whole amount for the yearly subscription if they have never worked with your tool. We have a couple of recommendations on how to build the right pricing strategy for your micro SaaS.
- Offer users a free trial period. It is a widespread practice to provide a free trial without any obligations to buy a subscription. As a rule, businesses offer 7 days for free as it is believed to be an optimal period.
- Do not try to make prices high. Many startups make a grave mistake when they try to set their costs as high as possible, cover their investments, and start earning money as soon as possible. However, when you have a micro SaaS project, it’s better to opt for another approach. Expensive tools can’t attract a lot of users at once. As a result, the chances to expand a user base are somewhat limited. We recommend you think about the possibility of offering comparatively low prices to make your solution affordable for a wider audience.
- Provide free plans. Of course, this recommendation won’t be relevant in all cases, but if it is possible to consider this option, you should do it. This tier can offer a minimal set of features, but it will encourage people to use your tool. And if they like it, they will be ready to pay for a tier with broader possibilities.
Step 4. MVP development. The creation of a minimum viable product is an excellent way to understand whether your idea is worth all the investment that you are ready to make. An MVP is a solution with a limited set of features that will be enough for end users to understand whether the offered app will be helpful for them. After you build this application with essential elements, you should make them available to users, and based on their feedback, you will be able to conclude whether you can proceed with your project realization or whether it requires improvements. As a result, even if something goes wrong, you won’t lose all the money allocated for the project.
If you want to learn more about MVPs and their role in software development projects, please follow this link.
Step 5. Micro SaaS launch. When you have already tested your idea and introduced the enhancements (if any), you can take the next step and create a full-scale product. Here, everything is quite similar to the launch of any other software. Before launching it, you need to make sure that it works entirely as it is supposed to, and all the bugs should be fixed before users start interacting with your software.
The Best Micro SaaS Ideas
To make it easier for you to find the most promising idea for your project, let us share a couple of options with you. You can use them as a foundation for your unique project.
- Niche CRM platforms. The majority of Customer Relationship Management solutions that are available today are universal and are targeted at a broad audience. However, you can launch a micro SaaS product built specifically for the needs of one business domain or industry. For instance, it can be a CRM platform for small medical centers. In this case, your software should include unique features and integrations that will be highly valuable for the chosen segment.
- Email automation tools. Today, email services are among the most widely used channels for building interaction between businesses and customers, especially when discussing the B2B segment. Micro SaaS projects can offer email marketing automation solutions that will be easy to use. Such tools can not only help to reduce the time required for sending emails but also to track the results of email campaigns and the effectiveness of the efforts made.
- Personal budgeting and finance apps. Among other micro-SaaS ideas, you can consider the launch of a unique budgeting solution for a particular group of users like freelancers or students. You should carefully study the needs of the chosen group to enrich your solution with features that will fully meet user requirements and help to achieve their goals more efficiently.
- Platforms for freelancers. Today, freelancing is still gaining popularity, with more and more specialists joining the market. You can address the needs of freelancers by offering them a reliable platform for job seeking, networking, project management, time tracking, etc.
- Social media management solutions. Such products are highly demanded among small businesses that greatly rely on social media to interact with clients but need more resources for managing their accounts there. You can enrich your solution with many features, including engagement monitoring, analytics, and content scheduling.
Micro SaaS Trends
When you are thinking about launching your software solution, it is essential to ensure it will meet market expectations and correspond to industry standards. That’s why it is vital to stay tuned with all the latest micro SaaS trends.
- AI and ML. 2023 has become a year when everyone is talking about artificial intelligence and machine learning, and we should admit that these technologies can become a good choice for building your micro SaaS product. AI and ML can help businesses process vast volumes of data as well as automate and streamline a lot of processes. Quite soon, AI-powered apps will become irreplaceable solutions for many industries, and you shouldn’t miss your chance to offer such a product to a particular niche segment before it is done by somebody else.
- Blockchain. While some people know about blockchain only in the context of crypto assets, it is only partially true. Cryptocurrencies are only one of its use cases. Blockchain, in a broader meaning, is more about decentralization, transparency, and security of your data. After your data is recorded on the blockchain, it can’t be changed. But, all the transactions stay visible to network participants, which ensures higher trust. Moreover, thanks to smart contracts, many transactions and processes can be conducted automatically, which will help companies reduce pressure on their employees.
- Tokenization and NFTs. In one of our articles, we’ve already talked about the creation of NFT marketplaces, and now we should mention NFTs among the trends in micro SaaS development. NFTs are a digital representation of different assets used in the real world, such as real estate, music, sports, etc. They are unique, which attracts investors. Given the interest in non-fungible tokens, micro SaaS businesses are launching their tools for issuing and selling NFTs that can be used in various spheres and for multiple goals.
The micro SaaS model is an excellent idea for your startup. Launching such a solution won’t be associated with huge investments, and you can cope with this task without external investors and stakeholders. At the same time, even if you do not have a team, you will be able to manage the project on your own.
As your solution will target a niche group of users and address their specific needs, you won’t face serious competition. As a result, your chances to succeed will be relatively high while risks are comparatively low.
Just contact us. At Geomotiv, we have splendid expertise in building cloud solutions for variousmarket segments, and we deeply understandwhat users want to get today.
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