Having a strong business plan for a SaaS business is critical for success. Every business needs a strategy and plan that when implemented delivers a strong foundation, and this holds for software as a service startup as well.
According to a report published in The Gartner CRM Guide, more than 50 percent of CRM is deployed as SaaS, and the number continues to grow at a rapid rate.
While Saas as a business delivers high value to customers with high ROI, a startup in this domain needs to be executed right from the very beginning, and only a well-written saas business plan can help you get started, as well as sustain in this competitive market.
If you are tempted to jump in and develop your own SaaS business, the below tips on how to write a business plan for a SaaS startup will help you achieve your goals.
Clear Goals, Clear Vision
Without a clear vision how would you write a business plan, and without a business plan how would you know whether you are on the right path? Do you know your target audience? Are you meeting the customer's needs? Are you taking full advantage of your USP?
All of these questions and many more can be answered in a detailed saas business plan. With Saas business, research and development have to be done up-front and then iterated to be able to create a solution that is going to appeal to the target audience.
Start with a Lean Plan
You don’t really have to start with a 40-page long business plan. As a startup, still trying to get validation for your idea, you can start with a one-page pitch. This is the fastest way to get your pitch onto paper. One-page format is also considered to be the best fit for Saas businesses that are constantly developing new ideas.
All you need is to write a couple of lines describing your saas business, and a short description of how your product is a compelling solution to your customers’ problems. If you want to write a business plan on your own, you can also use our free SaaS business plan example to build your pitch.
Show a path of Profitability
SaaS businesses often struggle to justify their investment regarding profitability. At the very beginning, most SaaS products are incomplete, loaded with bugs, and hard to use. But when it comes to writing a business plan, it is important to prove that the business model has the potential to make money in the long run and that growth is inevitable. Or at least demonstrate how and when you plan to hit profitability.
The easiest way to achieve this goal is to demonstrate interesting and innovative ways of monetization using the incredible power of the web. What strategies you’re betting on to acquire customers at a low cost? What will be the lifetime value of those customers? Can you find a scalable way to acquire customers?
So, if you are launching a SaaS startup, having a compelling business plan is going to be crucial to the success of your business. You can get a free business plan template that will help you forecast and track the SaaS business model.
SaaS Business Plan Outline
This sample CRM Software business plan includes the following sections:
- Executive Summary
- Mission & Vision
- Mission Statement
- Core Purpose
- Core Values
- Product & Service Description
- Overview of Products & Services
- Problems, Causes, Solutions & Benefits
- Solution: Panda CRM
- Industry Analysis
- Industry Overview
- Cloud Computing Industry
- SaaS Industry
- CRM Industry
- SAAS And CRM Industry Size and Trends
- Industry Size
- Industry Trends and Key Factors
- Industry Overview
- Competitive Analysis
- Competitive Overview
- Direct Competitors
- Indirect Competitors
- Competitive Advantages
- Market Share Analysis
- Barrier to Entry
- Market Saturation
- Beta and Usability Testing
- Patents & Copyrights
- Competitive Overview
- Market Analysis
- Market Snapshot
- Addressable Market
- Small Businesses – Market Size
- Wage and Salary Sales Workers – Market Size
- B2B Market Segmentation
- Ideal Customer Profile
- Sales & Marketing Plan
- Sales & Marketing Goals
- Online Traffic
- New Demos (Units) - Online
- Active Businesses (Units) - Online Traﬃc
- Sales Representatives
- Active Businesses - Sales Representative
- Active Businesses (Units) - Resellers
- SWOT Analysis
- Pricing Strategy
- Branding Strategy
- Marketing Strategy
- Online Marketing
- Sales & Marketing Goals
- Operations Plan
- Staffing And Training
- Personnel Plan
- Customer Service
- Purchasing Procedure
- Quality Control Measures
- Management Team
- Key Management
- Board Of Directors & Board Of Advisors
- Financial Plan
- Financial Summary
- Profit and Loss
- Profit Margin
- Marketing And Personnel Expenses
- Marketing Budget
- Marketing to Revenue Ratio
- Projected Profit & Loss
- Projected Cash Flow
- Projected Balance Sheet
- Current Ownership Summary
- Funding Request & Terms Of Investment
- Current Milestones
- Seed Capital
- Series A Capital
- Exit Strategy
- Financial Summary
- Product Comparison
After getting started with Upmetrics, you can copy this SaaS business plan example into your business plan and modify the required information and download your saas business plan pdf and doc file. It's the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.
What to include in a SaaS business plan?
You should include the following sections to write a well-rounded plan:
1. Executive Summary
The executive summary section forms the first and foremost page of your business plan. It is usually the only page your investors would read.
In the case of a SaaS business, you can include a brief description of your business idea, your goals, and aims, funding requirements, etc. Apart from that as a SaaS business, it is also important to show how your business idea would turn into a profitable one to gain an investor’s confidence.
Because chances are, your software might be some service that does not exist in the market. So, you need to explain why your service is needed and how you will earn profit from it.
2. Mission and Vision
This section would include the vision you have for your company and the mission or aim you wish to fulfill with it.
It is a good practice to highlight the core purpose and values of your company. It gives you a clear idea of what you will work for, and how you will work for it. Moreover, you can also make your branding campaign around your company’s values. This would not only make you more memorable to your customer but give them something to connect to your product.
3. Product and Service Description
Describing your service is a crucial aspect of a SaaS business. Because you’ll have a more likely chance to gain customers if your description is proper.
A proper and convincing description can help your business flourish. In your description include, what is your service all about, how will it help your customers, what problem would it solve, how to use it and who would need it, etc.
4. Industry Analysis
Analyzing the industry you plan on getting into is a crucial aspect of your business planning process. A thorough analysis can help you gear up for opportunities and threats of the industry.
It is important to analyze the industry size and trends at different levels. For example, if you plan on getting into CRM software, you’ll first analyze the SaaS industry and then the CRM industry. This helps you understand the trends in the industry and how they would impact your business in a detailed and all-around manner.
5. Competitive Analysis
Once you analyze the industry you’ll get a brief idea of who your direct and indirect competitors are. But in this section, you’ll analyze them further based on their strengths and weaknesses. Also, you’ll try to understand what amount of threat a particular competitor poses to your business.
As a software service, there might be several people providing the same service as you, or service close to what yours is. Analyze your competitors thoroughly and make a proper strategy on how you’ll combat competition and make a place for yourself to expand and grow in the market.
6. Sales and Marketing Plan
Although a marketing plan is important for any business, it is especially important for a SaaS business. Because having no tangible asset to sell, you need to get innovative and creative with your marketing strategy to be seen by your consumers.
You can include several strategies to market your business. The most important is to be present on all the platforms your customers are present at. You should formulate a social media and website strategy based on it. You might also use email marketing as guest posts to promote your business.
7. Operations Plan
The operations plan section of a business plan includes the functioning aspects of your business plan. It gives you an idea of how your business will work and what daily activities you’ll undertake to achieve your business goals.
In the case of a SaaS business, you’ll note down everything ranging from your customer acquisition strategy to your routine for checks and updates of your software.
8. Financial Plan
A financial plan is important for a SaaS business because it gets monthly or annual payments, and has to bear the cost of setting up and maintaining software.
A financial plan prevents your business from going astray and turns it into a profit-making entity. In this section, you’ll include your finding requirements, a description of how you’ll generate returns on those funds, your cash flow, and profit forecasts, etc.
Saas business plan summary
In conclusion, as a SaaS business, a business plan can help you get your priorities sorted. From well-managed finances, a proper marketing strategy to a well-designed customer acquisition strategy, a business plan can give you all of it and more.
Moreover, as a SaaS business, a plan is crucial from the point when you get the idea till you achieve your end goal.
Hence, if you have a brilliant idea and want to turn it into a SaaS business, go ahead and start planning.
Ready to Start Your Planning?
Now that you know how to write a business plan, it's time to create one for you.
Remember that problem and market analysis are essential, but implementation is what counts. Go through the process explained in this guide to start planning for your business.
We have created Upmetrics — business plan software to simplify the process of business planning.
Our business plan builder allows you to write and customize your business plan. Our sample business plans and inbuilt help tips will help you to get started with your writing even if you are no expert. Our business plan sections and charts will make your document visually attractive.
Our financial forecasting module will create all the essential reports automatically. You need to enter numbers, and the application will do all the math to generate all your financial statements. Later you can embed those reports into your business plan.
After completing your business plan, you can download your business plan in PDF or DOC file with Upmetrics. You can also share it online with investors just by a quick link.
Customize your Business Plan
All businesses are different. So, don't hesitate to customize your business plan according to your requirements.
Even though our sample business plans are to help you create the perfect presentation for your clients and investors, it is finally up to you to decide how you're going to present your ideas in the best light.
Business Planning Resources
We have plenty of free business planning resources available to help you with your planning. You can download our resources to learn all about business planning.