A Step-By-Step Approach If I Would Start a Bootstrapped SaaS Startup Today
I know how hard it is to market a startup with no budget.
I’ve bootstrapped a startup from 0 to 7 figures…
Let me walk you through the steps I’d take if I had to do it again (with an example):
1/ Start with the underserved problem.
We should use a fictitious example to understand how I’d approach it.
CRM for Tiktok creators.
Problem: There is no way to stay engaged with fans. I’ll build a CRM to stay in touch with fans and connect all other complementary tools.
2/ Investing in the brand from day one.
Product differentiation in SaaS is going away.
Emotional attachment and trust will lead.
I would obviously start a TikTok account and focus on the creators’ challenges.
Basically, use content marketing to build the brand.
3/ Double-down on ONE social media channel.
Tiktok is my obvious choice.
Many folks struggle because they don’t focus on one social media.
Content about creators challenges with their businesses & my product e.g. How to convert the followers to subscribers to super fans?
4/ Building an audience with my newsletter.
Social media audiences are rented & email is owned.
I will focus on one 3–2–1 format on my topic.
3 viral videos to inspire, 2 ideas to launch & 1 music trend to use in your next video.
Actionable content is the key to winning.
5/ Starting with a specific niche.
If you are speaking to everybody, you are speaking to nobody.
Target creators between 10K-100K followers in the beauty category.
Based on the Tiktok creator marketplace, I’ll only focus on TikTok creators in beauty & fashion.
6/ Cold outreach for product validation.
Since there is no search volume for the product.
I will reach out to 10–20 creators. I’ll pay them $100 for their time.
And ask a bunch of questions if they have similar problems.
7/ Website that resonates with my audience.
I’ll buy a domain that is super obvious (although, I might change it later)
I’ll build a landing page based on the problems I have observed.
Share that landing page with TikTok creators who have similar problems.
8/ Validation = Paid early access only.
Once the product is validated I have a huge list.
Paid validation is the only way to know if the problem is huge enough.
Now, I have some money to build and hire a developer.
9/ Virality trick: Invite-only referral program(the Clubhouse way).
It caters toward the vanity/ego/clout of the person making the referral.
Social capital has a higher incentive than dollar capital.
With this, I’ll make sure the product gets into the right hands as well.
10/ Start SEO early (it’s a free distribution channel).
I will ask creators questions and validate them with SEO.
I will answer them for SEO but also distribute them in my newsletter.
11/ Launch with creators to get viral.
Creators will share their videos on how the product helps them(influencer marketing) and then I will create a leaderboard.
The top 10 most viewed video creators will have 0.1–0.5% advisory shares. This leads to continuous promotion.
12/ Partnership to unlock the next steps.
CRMs usually complement other tools.
I will build a partnership after the launch & keep copromoting to the same audience.
Then I have content marketing, SEO, influencer marketing, and partnership figured out to scale later.
Lastly, I have made a lot of assumptions here but you can see what I did. But channels & approaches are similar that you can take away.
Build an audience before launching.
Most founders don’t think this way.
That’s the lesson.