In this article, we’re delving into the world of the most compact of businesses. It’s a growing sector in the digital domain, with many Micro-SaaS operators progressing beyond expectation, achieving far greater things than they initially dreamed possible.
For some, it’s about claiming their lives and time back; for others, it’s about taking control of their destiny. And for those who sold their tiny acorns to the mighty oaks in business are probably too busy sipping margaritas on their yacht to care.
Here’s what you need to know about Micro-SaaS and the state of Micro-SaaS in 2023.
What’s the difference between SaaS and Micro-SaaS?
What is SaaS?
SaaS stands for Software as a Service.
This software is distributed to users via apps or standalone software designed to offer a service and solve an array of problems. The service is subscription-based, usually monthly or annually.
For example, some of the biggest SaaS successes and operators include:
- Salesforce – a customer relationship SaaS management ‘all-in-one’ tool
- Adobe Creative Cloud – design and media software suites and individual packages
- Google G Suite – a collection of business services
- Slack – a widespread communication and collaboration service
- Zendesk – a cloud-based customer service platform
- Xero – a cloud-based accounting software
- Zoom – cloud-based video conferencing, chat, and webinar tool
- Mailchimp – a leading email marketing service
What is Micro-SaaS?
The key term here is micro. The business and the solution are small and niche compared to the giants that spread over the vast horizontal markets mentioned above.
Micro-SaaS businesses operate with a small team or a sole bootstrapper (someone who finds solutions to problems using their resources), delivering a solution for a niche need.
You may also like: Top 10 SaaS KPIs you need to know and track
As a small operation, they don’t need huge MRR (monthly recurring revenue) goals to deliver a healthy return, and they offer attractive freedom for entrepreneurs within the business model. A Micro-SaaS can translate into a minimum amount of work once established and running, delivering a wide range of benefits. Yet, those who find that golden egg can achieve colossal incomes in some cases or sell for millions.
Typically, a Micro-SaaS operates on the following:
- It does one thing but does it very well
- Is often run by a single individual or small team
- Is straightforward to implement and launch
- Doesn’t need a great deal of support
- Has a list of subscribers/paying customers
- Is often a product that can be integrated into a more comprehensive service or package and has a saleable value to other businesses
How do you build a Micro-SaaS business in 2023?
The golden rules of Micro-SaaS are that:
- Your product solves problems that users are willing to pay for, and
- You find your customers before you build your product.
Building a Micro-SaaS business isn’t easy. But for those who are organized and diligent enough to succeed in the challenge, it can lead to a more desirable lifestyle or, in some instances, astounding success.
However, to achieve that level of success, your product/service needs to excel. Many experts say that you need to be five times better than any existing solution to lead a niche market. You should know your audience, be able to build, launch, and market your service efficiently—and finally, it needs to be something you enjoy working on.
We don’t want to dumb things down too far (but here we go, all the same), but a rough guide to getting off the ground could look like the following:
- Gather your ideas
- Validate your ideas with feedback, data, and market information
- Find your first 25 customers
- Build your MVP (minimum viable product)
- Launch your product
- Monetize your product with a subscription plan
- Grow your audience and subscriber list
- Automate as much of your process as possible
- Scale the business or add new services
- Sit back and enjoy the proceeds or sell the business and start again
How do you find the Micro-SaaS idea that gets you flying?
The golden egg. The unicorn. Call it what you will, but every Micro-SaaS bootstrapper continually looks for great Micro-SaaS ideas to help deliver the success they dream of.
Almost all the best Micro-SaaS and SaaS products come from solving problems. Some bootstrappers build a product that answers the issues in their industry or operation. For others, it’s a case of digging around existing products, services, professions, and processes to find out what employees, managers, and users are complaining about. And, where there’s enough demand, they deliver a solution each of which will happily pay a subscription for.
Might be interesting: 16 SaaS pricing models and strategies – the ultimate guide
Validation is a big topic in Micro-SaaS. Too many eager hopefuls build a product because they love the idea of it. But, sadly, if there’s no demand or it doesn’t merit a subscription, then there’s no business.
Validation requires a lot of honesty and actual data. Are there customers? Will they pay? Are they enough to achieve your goals? Can you build it? Will it work? What are the risks? Can you remove or minimize them? Have you tested it until it’s bombproof? And finally, will your version of the product stand head and shoulders above the competition?
Micro-SaaS ideas and trends for 2023
To get ahead of the curve, it’s a great idea to monitor the latest tech trends, find a specific niche market that others aren’t doing as well as you can, and lever your way in. Bearing that in mind, the movement in the digital world right now is all about AI, ML, blockchain, and the move towards Web 3.0.
Web 3.0, we predict, will be incredibly reliant on decentralizing data, utilizing AI and ML to simplify everything we do, and using virtual assistants to manage those tasks.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
Artificial Intelligence isn’t ‘on its way’; it’s been here for some time. Despite sounding really rather ‘iRobot,’ so much web activity and interaction are already run by these two functions and growing every day.
AI and ML juggle more data than you could ever hope to. Given that data is king when running a business—AI is your new right-hand man. Using the information and automating processes to make the most of your findings will streamline operations and simplify business operations.
Low and no-code apps
Depending on their code skills, low and no-code packages provide bootstrappers with a double-edged opportunity. Solution-seekers are leaning on no-code platforms for automating processes, building websites and apps, and a host of other solutions. There are plenty of packages that allow them to create MVPs without understanding a single line of code.
Alternatively, suppose you can deliver a no-code app, builder, planner, or automation system that's the answer to a user's prayers. In that case, there are probably another hundred waiting to sign up.
Vertical Micro-SaaS elements
Industry-specific solutions lend themselves perfectly to Micro-SaaS problem-solving. You may think that a horizontal market opens you up to more subscribers and higher returns but let’s face it – a successful Micro-SaaS opportunity doesn’t need a massive number of contributors to succeed.
Worth checking: What is white label SaaS? Explanation with values and examples
Vertical markets provide the niche opportunities Micro-SaaS products thrive within. It’s a simple route to find the common complaints and problems within each industry operation, with discussion groups being widely available around the web and on every social media platform.
Find out where a few dozen managers or team leaders are pulling their hair out and help them find some peace. Vertical is going to be big for Micro-SaaS business.
Blockchain and decentralized databases
Any bootstrapper with their finger on the pulse already knows what's happening in the blockchain and crypto world.
But how can blockchain databases facilitate SaaS businesses? Here’s the list:
- More secure and private space for sensitive data;
- Increased transparency of processes;
- More trust for business on the client side;
- Boosted capabilities for automation;
- Availability of cryptocurrency payments;
- Potentially lower costs.
Unfortunately, despite being an incredibly secure system, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the weaker parts of the system, escalating crypto-crime at a very unhealthy rate.
So, can your Micro-SaaS plug a small hole in the cybersecurity failures?
There has been a massive swing towards NFTs and decentralization over the past few years. Not only will they become more popular in the mainstream as life moves forwards, but the decentralized virtual worlds that operate solely on NFTs will provide new opportunities for the SaaS and Micro-SaaS markets.
No doubt, the marketplaces of these virtual worlds aren’t just open to selling virtual real estate, art, accessories, and assets for your avatar but the challenges and activities within them.
Get even more SaaS trend predictions for 2023 in our free e-book. Learn more about SaaS and IT sectors from our expert interviews!
Sales and marketing
Micro-SaaS is about solving specific niche problems, so don’t try to match the SaaS giants of sales and marketing; creating plugins and add-ons that work within an existing SaaS is an easy way in for a new Micro-SaaS business.
Following discussion groups and forums will take you straight to the solutions those users need. Find a group of 15 that are disappointed with a particular part of their CRM, email service, or analytics package, and you’re good to go.
Training and learning platforms
A Micro-SaaS product can satisfy many needs if they've got a unique set of skills that other people want. The Internet is the ideal platform for ‘how-to’ resources, so why not put a price tag on your skill sets?
Once the bootstrapper has found its way through its first launch, how simple would it be to partner with another expert to ‘copy and paste’ the system for a whole new market?
See more trends and tips for SaaS founders in our insights from SaaStr 2022 summary.
Micro-SaaS for freelance and self-employed workers
With smaller operations growing in many markets and home-based, freelance, and self-employed workers more popular than ever, taking a problem the SaaS giants fixed for SMEs and stripping them out for what a freelancer or solo worker needs can provide all kinds of opportunities for the Micro-SaaS business.
You might be interested: Is Vertical SaaS right for your next project?
Time management, invoicing, customer relationship management—they don’t have to be the all-encompassing products that Salesforce or Zoho deliver, as your subscriber isn’t managing countless teams, campaigns, and hires.
Micro-SaaS ideas for 2023
The following Micro-SaaS ideas list is somewhat simplified, but it shows the hopeful bootstrappers among you that there are opportunities in every industry and almost everywhere you look.
- Workforce and time management
- Process automation in marketing, sales, and other operations
- Invoicing, accounting, and financial planning
- Email management
- Training and learning
- Plugins and add-ons
- Virtual assistants
- Remote facilities
- Niche market's communication, collaboration, and chat services
- Data gathering and feedback management
- Cryptocurrency management tools, automation, and predictions
- Social media marketing automation
We could go on, but the forward-thinkers out there will already have slipped down a rabbit hole into where their first Micro-SaaS ideas could take them. To those and any other bootstrapper or small team taking the plunge—we wish you every success.