SMBs Are the Core of the American Economy
When you consider the number of businesses in the United States, you know that the figure stands in the millions. But what often comes to mind first are the enterprises and powerhouses that dominate headlines and our everyday lives. We’re also familiar with the mid-market companies that hold sway regionally and to a lesser extent nationally. But both of these still don’t compare to small businesses, which comprise 99.9% of all businesses in the country.
While these small businesses contain less than 500 employees, they employ 58.9 million people — 47.5% of the total employee workforce in the U.S. They account for a significant amount of overall job creation, and in fact, are springing up not by the hundreds or thousands, but by the hundreds of thousands. And that’s quarterly (as of 2016).
While more and more enterprises and mid-market companies have been adopting SaaS platforms into their technology environments, small businesses are where outstanding opportunities for growth and other strategies exist. True, the revenue and data that can be garnered from implementation at a 10,000-person company is significant — but it’s also a risk. Imagine if you as a SaaS owner or leader lost that account. Ideally, it should not have accounted for your entire customer concentration, but enterprise accounts often are.
The benefits of SaaS for small business mean that this market segment is perhaps the best for SaaS companies to target. Revenue is small per customer, but can be built reliably and safely over time as one account wouldn’t (shouldn’t) account for 10–15% of your concentration. While churn is inevitable, losing a 5-user account is far more acceptable than a 1,000-user account.
The Benefits of SaaS for Small Business Address Specific Challenges
Obviously, small businesses don’t have the resources, manpower, or technology environments that mid-size and enterprise organizations have. The number of employees is of course far lower, processes are much more manual, workflows are often inefficient and time-consuming, and resources for potentially costly technology solutions aren’t always available. But SaaS platforms have the unique ability to offset all of these restrictions. Let’s explore some of these challenges and how the benefits of SaaS for small business can help.
Small businesses often aren’t able to pay for costly software implementations, capital expenses pertaining to software acquisition, and ongoing licensing fees and support costs. But with a SaaS solution, small businesses can pay for the features and user base they need while allocating resources toward more important costs such as maintain
ing operations, marketing, and so on.
A 50-person company (or smaller) will likely have a very small IT team. This group will already be at capacity with support needs, repairs, and other important technology tasks. Not only does SaaS, running on a web-based platform, eliminate the need for IT to manage and repair a new platform, but it also helps the company save on costs in not having to hire additional IT support.
As most SaaS platforms are Cloud-based, they can be accessed and used almost anywhere. This means rollouts and setups don’t need to take extensive amounts of time, nor do they need to force small companies to hire (expensive) implementation partners. Once they’re aboard, the customer is ready to start using their solution (just remember to provide training!).
As with any business, smaller companies can accomplish so much by eliminating the manual tasks and workflow that often come without having technology solutions. With a SaaS platform, small businesses can accelerate their productivity and ultimately make faster progress toward their goals — whether that be employee growth, more sales, more products, more services provided, etc.
As the small business grows, so too can the SaaS solutions it’s using. Additional users can be added with discounted pricing at different tiers, allowing th
e company to continue its momentum. Additional features needed by larger teams can be added to the core platform, ensuring that workflows are continually optimized for greater results. In the end, the flexibility of SaaS ensures that it can be whatever the customer needs it to be.
How to Leverage the Benefits of SaaS for Small Business
Recently, we produced a white paper on strategically growing your SaaS business through the right channels and market segments. If you’ll be marketing the benefits of SaaS to small business to that segment, it’s important to conduct testing in various channels (inbound, outbound, partner, etc.) to identify the one that works best for your platform and market.
Often, partner marketing is a great way to get in the door with small businesses. Because it’s essentially a referral, you immediately have a more personal connection and stronger opportunity to market the benefits of SaaS for small business to that customer. If you explore inbound marketing, the use of email for opted-in subscribers puts your message right where it needs to be. Outbound marketing may be worth exploring in small pilot efforts and low-cost avenues, but remember that outbound can be expensive, though it will help with reach.
Carefully review your sales team’s approach — what are they saying? How are they starting conversations? How are they keeping in contact? Are the benefits of SaaS for small business part of those conversations?
Consider keeping a playbook to review what sales teams are doing. Assess what worked, what didn’t, and why. Ideally, your playbook will consist of an automated tool and anything else you need to review sales team members’ actions. A CRM with tracked communications, recorded calls if applicable, and even follow-up forms for sales leadership’s review — whatever you need to ensure that your sales team is consistently improving and sharing those valuable benefits.
Conducting marketing to small businesses and managing sales can be costly but is often necessary to achieve your growth goals. This is where River SaaS Capital comes in. We offer two forms of funding to help you accelerate your momentum toward growth. Our debt financing product provides flexible, non-dilutive working capital to apply toward sales and marketing initiatives, while equity financing allows you to further build out your platform, operations, and financial strategy.
If you’ve been considering how you can increase your market share in the small business segment, River SaaS Capital is here to help. We’ll work closely with you to provide both the funding you need to achieve your goals and the strategic advisement to know where to take the next step and where to focus your efforts. Fill out the form below to get started.