It’s difficult–if not impossible–to predict what the economy will look like over the next few years, let alone the next few months. One thing for certain is that change is coming–and it will happen fast. This means if you run a SaaS company, there are three things you need to be doing right now.
First, you should be identifying and plugging any holes in the boat. Every person and every business is impacted by the coronavirus–there’s no way around it. You need to know precisely what those impacts are and to what degree they’re affecting the business.
While you can’t predict the outcome you can double down on the fundamentals. This includes
- Identifying customer problems
- Getting better and better at onboarding customers
- Prioritizing the most impactful opportunities
But don’t be irrational about your decision-making process. Ensure it’s actually a hole. Ensure it actually needs plugging.
You’ll want to be sure you managing your cash properly and determine whether you should hoard it a bit more in order to extend your runway. Of course, this is rarely a bad idea.
Keep an eye on growth, retention, and churn. These are key harbingers you need to be watching over the coming months.
Next, you need to get an understanding of the health of your customers. You should already know the health of your industry, but what about your individual customers?
Some customers will be fine, others could be thriving, and there may be some that are failing. You need to understand where they are at so you can adjust your projections and your solutions accordingly. This will have a direct impact on the important areas of your business–such as retention, churn, support, and receivables.
You do this by having conversations with your customers. Get them on the phone. Shoot them an email. Send out a survey. Read forums. Get on Slack. It doesn’t matter what method you use, just start understanding where they are at or even just how they’re thinking about the economic climate right now.
Some specific things you may want to know include:
- Are they hiring? Firing? Neither?
- What projects have they put on hold?
- Which projects are they taking up?
- How are they communicating with their customers?
- What area of their business is the most impacted?
- Is management giving them confidence?
One thing that will never change, the importance of understanding your customers.
Lastly, identify any opportunities from your customer conversations. Where can you help? You don’t need to be the one providing the solution, necessarily. If you can point people in the right direction they will remain loyal customers.
Once you have identified opportunities, do something with them. Maybe you’re not focused on closing new deals but, rather, on ensuring existing customers don’t churn. Perhaps this means you move to offer your products based on a freemium model. Rather than charging people from the start, you offer a free tier that gets enough of the job done for them.
How you’re positioned and what you’re actually able to do will dictate some of the opportunities you’ll be able to go after. But this does not stop you from wrapping your mind around what you think the future will look like so you can prepare.
There is also an opportunity to start looking at the next industry or niche you could go after. If you’ve ever eyed a specific industry that you think you can help, now is the time to start learning more. The landscape of industries is going to drastically change. New players will enter the field and others will leave. For example, if you sell to, say, facility managers maybe you start to look at delivery and logistics companies as they’re seeing substantial growth.
Be clear that change is coming. We’re all making it happen. Better to embrace it than try to fight it.