Advice from a founder of a SaaS with more than 10 million users

I joined Simplified as a co-founder over 2 years ago. Today, I am proud to say that we serve over 10 million users worldwide.

Getting up and building it every day continues to be one of the greatest joys of my life. But if you were to reflect on our time building this SaaS business, there are definitely some lessons we're glad we implemented, and some we wish we'd applied.

If you're a SaaS business owner like me or just getting started, this is a non-exhaustive newsletter of actionable tips that I promise will make your journey just a little bit easier.

Okay, maybe not everything. But as a SaaS product, no one except your customers will help you validate your idea.

My co-founder KD and I did something interesting when we were starting Simplified and looking for genuine feedback:

We went to Fiverr and paid designers and artists to use our tool and give us honest feedback. We asked them to use Simplified in front of us or provide us with a screen recording of their use.

When they said something negative or we perceived that they had problems with the tool, we asked them why, why did you think it didn't work?

We really understood where we were lacking, where the user experience could be improved, and what we could do to deliver exactly what they needed.

That's what helped us build a product that has customers, not users.

I won't stop saying this, but you have to build your product so that people find a real use for it and are willing to pay for it.

In short? REALLY TALK to your customers.

This point may even precede the previous one, both in terms of product timing and importance.

You have a fairly small team and will probably continue to do so for some time. So the last thing you want to do is overload yourself with customer inquiries. You cannot serve all users and clients.

So build a solid knowledge base about your product and make it available to your users and customers to help them when they get stuck.

This knowledge base encourages self-service, is available 24/7, and over time can also function as a feedback loop for product improvement.

PS A comprehensive knowledge base, if done well, can also potentially benefit you with SEO rankings and attracting new clients.

Most startups don't realize the cost of supporting and educating customers and users.

If a user is on your site and they're stuck trying to use what you've built, the WORST thing that can happen is that they leave your site.

When you're starting out as a SaaS company, the best thing you can do is create a ton of videos: tutorials, how-to's, recorded sessions, for example: This is how an AI image is generated in Simplified.

Upload these videos to your website and see how the game changes.

If a user can see a solution and resolve themselves instead of going to a customer service representative, they will remain engaged.

Many startup founders think this way:

When you build, customers will come.

I don't believe in this. This is my version:

You build, and you build the engine to support them coming.

What this means is doing your marketing and SEO from day one.

This is important because by the time you're done building, you'll have the basic engine that can actually drive users to the product you just built.

I doubt that, at least in 2024, there will be a market as saturated as SaaS. So you're basically risking potential growth every day that you're not marketing and getting the word out.

Starting to market from day one is not just about selling the product, but about laying the foundation for sustainable growth and success.