TMBA 238: 9 Months Into A SaaS Project - 5 Things We’d Do Differently

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People have been asking us to open up a little bit more about some of our specific business ventures so this week we’re going to be talking about our new software-as-a-service product, ValetUp.com. We’re 9 months into the company, and we’ve already faced some significant challenges. On this week’s episode we’ll be discussing the 5 things that we’d do differently if we were starting up a SaaS business today.

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • Why you need to be avoiding “the idea trap.”
  • How to focus on the features your customers are interested in instead of the ones that will make you the most money.
  • Why you shouldn’t be undervaluing design as a competitive advantage.
  • The important difference between painful problems and profitable problems.
  • Why we thought we’d be the next Steve Jobs (and why we bombed at that).

People on this episode:

Mentioned in the episode:

Listening options:

 

Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.

Cheers,

Dan & Ian

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Published on 04.03.14
  • http://thebeachhousesp.com Beach House

    The golden rule of entrepreneurship, get going, keep going, and never stop – failing has helped you guys get this far, why not everybody else. The beauty of having more failure talks just shows how hard you’ve pushed – love this podcast! ;)

  • Stacey Herbert

    Listening in to you and Ian as I get my hustle on in Berlin. Hilarious, informative, honest and such good rapport. I’m reminded to listen in more often. You guys rock the mic.

  • JakeReed

    Gold Ducats? Someone’s been playing too much Europa Universalis 4…

  • JakeReed

    I got a rant for you…. Why do most of the internships for “location independent businesses” require moving to southeast asia? O.o

  • http://www.TropicalMBA.com/ Ian

    I just spit my tea out, congrats! Too funny.

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com/ Dan Andrews

    that’s rich! we’ve got a winner :)

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com/ Dan Andrews

    it’s got a nice ring to it!

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com/ Dan Andrews

    thanks Stacey so much appreciate that… hope to see you there sometime in the coming months… looks like bossman will be hanging in Prague… talk about an excuse!

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com/ Dan Andrews

    thank you so much for that! if failing is the name of the game, bossman and I will be in good shape ! :D

  • Charles Hall

    I found this show really interesting because I am one of those software guys, and it is interesting to view a project like this from a fresh perspective. I’ve been working in hardware and software for computers and the internet since the mid 90’s, yes I am old. A few reactions to this:

    1) Once you release software to users they are going to use it in ways that you never expected or imagined, which can be both fun and irritating.

    2) You can’t underestimate the value of understanding the users process and how they will interact with your product. More often than not some developer, or manager, comes up with a feature that they think is amazing, and users think that it is a PITA. Make features that the users want, and they will be happy.
    2a) That said, it can be really difficult to innovate when you are always reacting.

    3) I find it easier to innovate when I sit with the user and go through their process, or better yet, do the process myself. When I find myself saying “there has to be a better way,” I know that I am on to something. It’s then important to stay in touch with the user and iterate.

  • Cristina C. Ansbjerg

    Yes, this podcast is unique, definitely. Now, let me tell you why are unique to me:

    When I first found your blog and listened to your podcast I didn’t relate immediately. Back then I was reading Copyblogger, Problogger and all those fancy sites. I stumbled upon your blog and thought: What the hell are these guys talking about? It was like you were speaking Chinese to me. You were so different I didn’t relate, but I was curious so, I listened to 5 or 10 of your podcast episodes. Then, a few days later something “magically” clicked on my brain and I saw the light: “These guys are not talking about crafting headlines and adding popups to a website. They are talking about building and running real businesses. And I don’t want to craft headlines. I want to build something useful for others and make money out of it…”

    I had been trying to learn from the wrong people. When I understood that, my mindset changed 100% for better. And that’s the reason why I’m such a passionate advocate of the TMBA world and especially the Dynamite Circle. You are the real deal, guys.

    Tl;dr: You talk about the core of building and running businesses. Not about the superficial aspects which are completely useless until you have a real business.

    You talk about building the foundation of the house, not about the color I will paint the walls.

  • https://twitter.com/jedbickford Jed Bickford

    Great episode guys – kept thinking of this quote: “The job of the product manager is to *discover* the product, not create it.” It’s from the book Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love.

  • http://wpcurve.com/ Dan Norris

    Thanks guys this one hit home. I’ve been through the same and often wondered how I could make so many obvious mistakes knowing full well that I was doing it.

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com/ Dan Andrews

    Excellent excellent points Charles… esp #1 :D :/ :(

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com/ Dan Andrews

    hahaha “knowing what” and “knowing how” are hopelessly disparate concepts.

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com/ Dan Andrews

    cheers great point and thanks for the suggestion

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com/ Dan Andrews

    WOAH…. I LIKE HOW YOU THINK :D :D :D

    I’d print this on a t-shirt and wear it around if that were feasible :)

    Appreciate all your support Cristina we’d very much like to deliver on the promise of helping build real sustainable businesses

  • http://www.linchpin.net/ Damian Thompson

    Great one guys, you know I love a “we fucked up” episode from you two. :)

    One quick tangent, I don’t love “The More Profitable Way to Run Your Valet Operation” headline. More Profitable reads weird, no?

  • Herbert Camey

    Hey guys, why don’t you offer a credit card processing service to your clients. You would be making a percentage out of every daily transaction your clients make. If they say, oh our credit processing won’t work with your system, you can say, well try ours. Lol. It’s awesome when you have a client, like a restaurant making $100,000 a month and you get a piece of that for the life of the account. Sadly, I don’t have a restaurant making $100,000 a month as a client yet. Lol.

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com/ Dan Andrews

    we will where we can but many clients can’t use our credit card processor due to previous deals with mortgage provider or similar

  • Bren Davis

    Hey guys –

    Love the podcast! Thank you for all that you do.

    My business partner and I have a cash flow analysis tool we’ve developed called apt analyzer (aptanalyzer.com) for commercial real estate agents that saves them time and money and get listings.

    My partner developed it while working in a commercial real estate office and seeing the pain point firsthand. The only other option in the market place is a $300 a month tool that is extremely complex and requires at least 16 hours of training to be able to use, while ours is push button simple and creates beautiful looking reports with just a few clicks of he mouse.

    Here’s the thing:

    The idea has been validated offline, we are ready to take it online, but unclear on the next step. Our goal is to automate the sales process and setup a nice funnel with a paid ads and an auto-responder series. What is the best way in your opinion to do this at this stage?

    I have had success in my other business with paid Facebook ads + webinars and would love to get that working for us with this, but not sure if it’s the best bet as I’ve never marketed software before.

    Do you have any resources and processes you can recommend us? I have the time to work on this, am fully open to your expertise and ideas and am willing to do whatever it takes to make this work (literally whatever it takes!)

    Thanks again guys!! And thank you for sharing your thoughts, ideas, and experiences with the world so freely and so openly. It is deeply needed!

  • http://www.tropicalmba.com/ Dan Andrews

    hey Bren thanks so much for your comment I also got your VM! your competence in paid FB to webinars seems perfect for this!!! seems like a really interesting strategy to me, perhaps you can offer independent value to the webinar (cash flow tips in general) besides just an introduction to the software, but TBH it might be the case folks will be interested regardless. only one way to find out! :D

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