The $20 SaaS Company

From Zero to Seven Figur4es without Venture Capital

Joseph Anderson

Publisher: Independently Published, 2021, 161 pages

ISBN: 979-8500221050-8

Keywords: Entrepreneurship

Last modified: Dec. 16, 2022, 7:57 a.m.

In 2014, I was 29 years old. I was selling against companies that had been in the QuickBooks integration business for five years or more. Some competitors had millions of dollars in venture capital. Their websites were the equivalent of a five-star hotel. These competitors had large sales and marketing teams that could easily show the value of their solution. The companies had a team of programmers. I had my pyjamas, a corded phone, a cookie-cutter website, and a laptop computer.

  • 7 Rules for Running a SaaS Company
    • #1 — Manage your finances daily
      • Managing finances in the first four years
      • Live below your means
      • Cash flows with recurring revenue
      • Avoid pricing yourself out of business
      • Be mindful about hiring
      • Wearing different hats
      • Efficiency
      • Visual charts
      • Renewals
      • In what order should you invest your money?
      • Do you need outside investment?
      • Should you invest in hiring more people?
      • Profits vs. employees
      • Cost of employee benefits
      • Estimated tax
      • Pay yourself fairly and do what's best for the company
      • Cancel unnecessary charges
    • #2 — Create a product that makes a positive impact on your target audience
      • My story
      • The problem
      • Saving small businesses time and money with SaaS
      • From $20 to a multi-million dollar software company
      • Tax plugin
      • Mobile phone apps
      • First QuickBooks plugin
      • Getting started on my big hit — December of 2012 and January of 2013
      • Building my first SaaS product — January to May of 2013
      • Cloud Cart Connector — 2013
      • Connex for QuickBooks — 2014
      • Connex for Xero — 2016
      • Focus on what you are doing, instead of what everyone else is doing
      • A me-too business
      • Obtaining a CRM
      • How CRMs market themselves
      • Use a CRM to avoid chargebacks
      • What CRM you should use
      • Why people churn
      • The success gap
      • How to prevent churn
      • Negative effects of churn
      • Types of churn
      • What is a good churn rate?
      • What is a good cancellation workflow
      • Onboarding and customer health scores
      • The difference between customer success and customer service
    • #3 — Create value-driven business development and sales
      • Why I was successful
      • Become an active listener
      • Ask customers if they can afford what you are selling
      • Sell a feeling to your target audience
      • How do you sell a feeling?
      • Why have a sales process?
      • How do you differentiate yourself from other companies?
      • How do you handle pricing objections?
      • How do you know that a customer wants to buy your product?
      • Your 15-minute call
      • What kind of customers should you sign up?
      • Crossroads
      • Find a way to "yes"
      • Close Sale
      • Determine whether this work is a distraction
      • Learn the power of "no"
      • Avoid one-way partnerships
      • Why partner?
      • Alignment
      • Partner revenue share
      • Cross advertising
      • Paying for partnership
      • Technical reviews
      • Technology partners
      • Knowing when to give up
      • Sell products to people who can buy them
      • Connex for Microsoft Dynamics
      • QuickBooks POS
      • Salesforce and QuickBooks integration
      • The failure of inventory management partnerships
      • The Canada Principle
      • Why did Connex for QuickBooks Destroy work?
      • Why did Connex for QuickBooks Online succeed?
      • The pipe dream of software
      • Pros and cons of a minimum viable product
      • How to provide awesome technical support
      • Bad fit customers and technical support
      • Reproducing the issue
      • How to solve the problem
      • Workaround
      • By design
      • Not supported
      • The reason why you get so many support tickets
    • #4 — Offer your product for a fair price
      • What should you charge?
      • What is the return on investment?
      • What about time savings?
      • Should you charge monthly or annually?
      • How should you describe your plans?
      • Negotiating a price
      • Offer a renewable product that only works if the customer keeps paying
      • SaaS companies profit most on renewals
    • #5 — Keep your employees and vendors
      • Align your employees and vendors
      • How to use meetings to improve alignment?
      • Meeting stew
      • Who needs to attend meetings?
      • How do you stay on topic?
      • On hiring
      • Assigning tasks
      • What is your job as CEO?
      • Tasks people like
      • Why delegate?
      • Meaningful work
      • Firing employees
      • Firing Steve
      • Being friends with your employees
      • Being afraid to hire people
      • Firing Mike
      • Dealing with recruiters
      • The cost of recruiters
      • On the hiring process
      • Question to ask candidates
      • Why not hire them both?
      • Personal development plans
      • Giving a raise
      • Evaluating software vendors
      • Annual agreements
    • #6 — Customer value must exceed cost
      • Firing customers
      • Problem customers
      • How to rid yourself of problem customers
      • How to deal with angry problems customers
      • Avoid changing code and focus on your target customer group
      • Software development and the game of lights out
    • #7 — Invest in the best, modern, affordable technology
      • If there is a pre-built solution, try it
      • Build custom software, if you must
      • Automate business processes
      • Starting with systems that fit
    • Conclusion
      • What I learned from bad experiences
      • Advice for small startups


The $20 SaaS Company

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Very Good ******** (8 out of 10)

Last modified: Nov. 19, 2023, 11:35 a.m.

An excellent book about what to think about when creating a startup with limited experience. It is not really about SaaS, but more a listings of caveats the author have lived through.

A bit American in outlook, that is why it ranked "just" Very Good.

Still recommended reading for any aspiring entrepreneur out there, that would like to learn how to avoid the usual traps when starting and growing a company.


There are currently no comments

New Comment


required (not published)