Are you a SaaS entrepreneur?
Do you define your Terms and Conditions and sell products or services through your website? If so then you’re not just a business owner but a SaaS entrepreneur.
What’s a SaaS?
Software as a Service is business name given to any platform which provides a service to an end user or service. It can be as simple as a Wix or WordPress or Squarespace site or as complex as a Single Page Application published on top of a microservice architecture, or it could even just be an API which only provides a data stream to another service. Any online storefront that delivers a paid service to another party defined by your T&Cs is your SaaS business.
Why is defining your own T&Cs important?
If you’re selling through a third party like Etsy or Ebay or Amazon you’re for the most part tied into their terms and conditions – which means defining the platform you can use, how you can use it and the payments services you offer. This is often exactly what you need when you start but can be restrictive when you grow as a business.
Why does this matter?
When you are a SaaS entrepreneur every decision you make about the technology you use matters. It matters because it directly affects the user experience for your customers: it is both your storefront and warehouse from where you do your fulfilment. It matters because there is both a direct and indirect cost to your business. The platform you use as a seller dictates how you do your marketing and sales but also your fulfilment, finance, accounting and reporting. It is the heart of your business and often as a small business you will be taking on many of the roles associated with those functions.
Why not just outsource this to a developer or use a platform?
You may choose to outsource to a developer to make these decisions for you or with you. You may opt for a platform for hosting your services and have to trade some of your flexibility – some of your Terms and Conditions – for their T&Cs. Either path you choose you should understand what this means for your business.
Lock-in for any platform whether it be via a developer or via a platform is real. A good developer will try to ensure that your systems are as loosely coupled to third parties as possible but good developers are both hard to find and also expensive. If you have someone who can do this for you at a price you can afford then you are making good progress. Conversely any platform you use can increase fees, change its T&Cs and impact your business planning causing you to have to change your strategy.
You may already have a website so why shou