Since I arrived in France two weeks ago, I’ve become fascinated by a TV channel called BFM Paris.

It’s a low-budget news channel whose entire programming appears to be reporting which Paris metro lines are on strike each day.

World war three could break out and the chryon at the bottom of the screen would still be saying line 3bis will only be running between noon and half past three.

So, right now, I’m pretty excited.

You see, the railway union has announced they’re going to suspend the strikes.

So what are BFM going to report on?

Maybe they’ll abandon news reporting and just show back-to-back episodes of the Rockford Files?

I can’t wait to find out!

But that takes me to today’s question: What happens if you’re in SaaS and your business model suddenly becomes obsolete?

We’ve seen this a bunch of times.

One of the most famous was when Google bought Urchin, rebranded it as Google Analytics and gave it away for free.

Good news for Google. Good news for Urchin. And good news for website owners.

Bad news for anyone else selling analytics software.

A more recent example happened in the UK. When RBS bought Freeagent – an accounting software company – they started giving it away free to RBS business customers. 

What if this happens to you?

So what do you do if something similar happens to your SaaS company?

Well, you could throw in the towel. But there are three other things you could do instead…

#1: Go upmarket

The analytics companies that survived Google Analytics usually survived because they had features GA didn’t have. 

I.e. GA killed off most of the cheap end of the market. The high end of the market survived.

#2: Become a service business

You could parlay your expertise in the market to create a done-for-you service.

So let’s say, for example, your SaaS product is email marketing software. You could become an email marketing agency.

#3 become information marketers

Another way to use your expertise is to switch from being a SaaS business to being an information marketing company.

So, going back to our email marketing example, you’d have an email list of customers (and former customers and trialists).

What do you know about these people?

Well, they’re interested in email marketing.

So you could keep your email list going and use it to sell courses on how to write effective emails or how to build an email list.

You could create these courses, or you could promote other people’s courses as an affiliate.

And, you don’t have to just stick to email. If they’re interested in email marketing, they’re maybe interested in PPC or SEO… 

You could create quite a nice little business from this.

All the best,

Steve Gibson

PS I don’t know if you realised this, but you could do all three of these things alongside your SaaS business.

You don’t have to wait for your market to disappear to create an upmarket version of your offer… or to add a done-for-you service… or offer information products to your customers.

You could do them alongside your business. Depending what industry you’re in – and the size of your list – maybe it would add 7 figures to your bottom line.

Just sayin’.

Categories: saas