Preparing Your Micro SaaS App For Scaling
Just like launching a real rocket, when you launched your Micro SaaS app, it would have taken a metric tonne of effort just to achieve that initial lift-off and get it a few feet off the ground. The great news is that the following stages build upon the momentum from your launch and will help propel you to outer space (or just quit your day job if that’s your target!).
Before we jump into the methods to grow your Micro SaaS app, we need to run through some important prerequisites to ensure that when you do scale your Micro SaaS, it goes smoothly:
Customer Satisfaction Is Key
I have put this point first on the list as it really is that crucial. You must always have a happy user base, it will be the foundation you build upon.
Underpromise and overdeliver; engage with your users; have a transparent roadmap and overdeliver on the features that the users are expecting.
If there are support issues, resolve them as quickly as possible - whatever it takes!
I recommend screenshares where possible for an expedited resolution and in turn, happier customers.This is even more essential in the early days as you try to:
Customer satisfaction really is the foundation of the growth process. There’s no point in having a high number of users try out your app only for them to leave the next month due to it being buggy and support taking ages to come back to them.
Take this snippet from a review of my app Merch Wizard, which was left by an early adopter who was super-impressed with the rapid response of myself and the support team.
Imagine being a prospective user and reading this review, you’d be reassured that even if you did have any issues running the software, they’d be resolved very swiftly.
Set Goals And Celebrate Milestones
Take a deep breath and look at where you were 12 months ago, or even 6 months ago, and how far you’ve come through the process of planning and launching your own Micro SaaS app.
Think about where you are now and where you want this to go next. It’s time to set some SMART goals which are:
Your targets can be based on almost any aspect of your Micro SaaS business, for example:
For each of the above, work backwards from where you want to get to and figure out the stepping stones on the way. These will be your milestones and should be written down along with a target date for each milestone.
Don’t just write these down and shove them in a draw to be forgotten!
Instead, check-in on them regularly and correct your course where possible. That which isn’t measured isn’t improved upon!
When you hit a milestone, don’t forget to celebrate it! Yes, there will be a new milestone to set, but you should reward yourself (and your micro-team if you have one) each time a milestone is achieved.
Your Micro SaaS Financial Objectives
Ask yourself what you’re hoping to achieve financially with this Micro SaaS app. Is it just some extra side hustle money (beer money), or perhaps it’s your aim to be able to pay your rent/mortgage (rent money) with this additional income?
Maybe, you hate your corporate job in software development and want to build up your cash-generating Micro SaaS so it enables you to finally quit your day job!
Clearly, there’s a correlation in the amount of income vs the amount of effort you need to put into your Micro SaaS app. Wherever you’re heading, your specific financial target will dictate how you set about growing your user base.
If it’s just beer money then you won’t need to scale as aggressively. Someone that is planning on quitting their software developer job in the next 6 months to live the Micro SaaS life of freedom will have to scale harder.
Do you want beer money, rent money, to quit your job or big money from your Micro SaaS?
Is The App Ready To Scale?
Before we try and attract boatloads of additional users, your Micro SaaS app needs to be able to handle these new additions without compromising the performance that other users currently experience. Otherwise, you’ll find that a similar number of users that are coming through the front door are leaving through the back door!
If your app is server-based, then there are tools you can use to simulate a large number of users. As a minimum, you’ll want to ensure that all three of the below tests pass with flying colors:
Side note - I am presuming that your app isn’t just running on a single server and is likely cloud-based 🤞 … otherwise you don’t need me to tell you twice that you will need to stop reading this article and go and re-architect the app to make it scalable.
In my situation, my apps are chrome extensions that run within (you guessed it) a user’s Chrome browser. Whilst this sounds great from a scalability perspective as all of the code is client-side, it does make hundreds of calls to external servers every minute.
Fortunately for me, I don’t have to administer these servers as the endpoints belong to Airtable, Amazon, and Gumroad. As such, my apps are by their nature, unconstrained and unaffected by a sudden influx of new users (lucky me!).
Is The Business Ready To Scale?
Ok, now we’ve established that the app can scale - but what about your Micro SaaS business? How will customer satisfaction be maintained as the number of users increases and the volume of support tickets increase? Do you need to hire and train up a small support team?
Here's a tip - early on, invest your time into creating a detailed knowledge base. It will pay dividends for years to come. Users can find their own solutions to issues and you can direct support tickets to the relevant articles rather than repeating yourself.
On my second app, KDP Wizard, we had the knowledge base, tutorial videos, and setup videos/articles in place pre-launch (we were confident of a successful launch). We received lots of positive feedback on the smooth setup experience and the wealth of support articles available.
A glowing user review as a result of an early investment in setup guides, tutorial videos, a knowledge base and ticketing system.
If you’ve managed to handle support so far with something primitive like email or Messenger, then now is the time to level up to a ticketing system.
There are plenty of free/cheap helpdesk solutions nowadays and customers will expect this even from small Micro SaaS apps.
From your perspective, having the ability to assign tickets, re-use response snippets and ultimately have a searchable database of tickets will make your life easier too.
At the other end of the business, do you have the bandwidth to cope with the increased volume of pre-sales enquiries from potential customers as the app is being promoted?
They will expect quick responses to any pre-sales questions. Slow responses at this stage may put them off from buying entirely.
Does the Pricing Model Scale?
It’s also worth considering how your pricing model will work at scale. Are there any costs within the business that will scale disproportionately to the revenue?
One thing to be mindful of is the scenario where you offer a lifetime deal on your app but you have some associated transactional costs as the users use your app.
Scaling caught me out within my own app Merch Wizard.
One of the features is the batch language translation of 5 textboxes from English to a destination language. This started off as just English to German as that was the only marketplace available with a different language (so a total of 5 API calls per Merch listing to be translated).
I used my Amazon Translate account which the chrome extension called. I absorbed the cost across the user base, simply thinking of it as a subsidised cost of running the app.
However, two factors contributed to my translation costs skyrocketing:
1) Merch By Amazon introduced several new marketplaces totalling 5 destination languages. So, instead of 5 x 1 translation API calls, it rose sharply to 5 x 5 = 25 translation API calls per listing!
2) The user base increased as the app gained popularity. Not a problem normally, but as I’d sold many lifetime licences (notably to big Merch creators) during seasonal sales, each time they carried out batch translations it was eating into my profit margin.
In the end, I had to bring the free translation to an end and ask the users to sign up for a free account to individually utilise the free monthly allowance from Amazon Translate. Instead of just delivering this bad news to the user base directly, I figured it’d be a good time to add some new translation providers that they’d asked for (Google Translate and Deepl).
I was able to sell it to the user base as giving them a more configurable solution where they could pick their preferred translator. On the whole they were very happy with that! ✌
Ahead of actually starting to scale your Micro SaaS app you've got to ask yourself the key questions discussed in this chapter, namely:
Having laid the foundations carefully, we’re on to the exciting topic of actually scaling up both your user base and recurring income.
It’s vital that during this growth phase that customer satisfaction remains high. You must keep on top of support, continue to add the features promised on the product roadmap. You can then look into utilising SaaS marketing techniques highlighted in the next chapter to scale and grow your Micro SaaS app.
About the Author
Hi, my name is Rick and I help unfulfilled software developers quit their 9-5 jobs, with minimal risk by creating their own cash-flowing Micro SaaS businesses.
I have been on the journey myself, starting as a nobody; finding a niche; establishing credibility; building up multiple Micro SaaS apps to the point that I could quit my (well paid) Technical Director job and work on my apps full time.
I then scaled the apps up and eventually sold and exited them for a life changing amount of money. You can read my full story on my about page.
I am passionate about sharing the knowledge I’ve gained from this journey … welcome to my site 👋
The Micro SaaS Handbook
The Micro SaaS hub containing all the links to the individual Micro SaaS chapters you'll need to go from zero to hero.
You can download all my Micro SaaS articles in a free ebook PDF so you can read it anywhere, any time.
Validating your micro SaaS app idea
Developing an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for your Micro SaaS app idea is the best way to establish whether or not your app genuinely solves a painful problem for your target audience.
If you think you’ve found a fantastic idea but want some certainty, then read through my validating your Micro SaaS app idea chapter to find some techniques that will put your mind at ease.
Preparing Your App For Scaling
In order to successfully scale your app’s user base, you’ll need to go through a short period of consolidation to sure up the foundations first.
These are important prerequisites to ensure that when you do scale your Micro SaaS, it goes smoothly. Take a look at my detailed chapter on preparing a Micro SaaS app for scaling before you move on!
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