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Are you ready to make the leap? Get SaaS ready in 3 easy steps

Are you ready to make the leap? Get SaaS ready in 3 easy steps

By this point you’re on board with why a SaaS model makes good business sense. It improves efficiency and generates stable, predictable revenue. If you need a refresher, check out How to make your agency a SaaS business and Ditch the project by project agency model and build relationships with clients. But how do you make the leap to a SaaS model? We’ll walk you through three essential, organisational steps to help your transition to a SaaS business model.

It’s important to note at this point that for any existing agencies who intend to reinvent their structure in a significant way, you must be sensitive to your staff. Big changes in companies can make staff nervous and flighty so it’s best to be upfront about what you’re doing. Discuss the benefits and complications that might arise from the change. Go into the discussion with a realistic view of how their positions and day-to-day processes might change with a SaaS business model.

What are you working with?

Often small business owners start with a tidy workflow process. But as they find their company expanding, workflow processes adapt in an ad hoc way without any formal review or infrastructure in place to handle growth. So the first step in transitioning to a subscription based agency starts with a full audit of your team, services and current processes.

A lot of the time, an audit highlights subconscious, but effective, processes. That is, workflows that your team has intuitively fallen into, that work well, but have gone undocumented. These are great (and free!) resources to nail down. As your business scales, these process blueprints will become invaluable.

However, the audit should extend beyond workflow processes to include a meta-analysis of the breakdown of work and allocation of resources across the team. These findings will form the basis on your service packs (more on that in a second) but beyond that, will point out any leakage in your processes or any thermal exhaust ports in your Death Star.

What do your clients need?

After you’ve mapped your process flows, it’s time to think about your current clients. Think about the services they currently use and how they could be easily upsold. Think about how you can build thematic service packs around their needs.

As a subscription service, you need to be explicit about your services and service packs. Because a subscription model offers less customisation than the traditional agency model, you must offer a gradient of packs instead. For example, a client might start on a light SEO pack but as they grow might need the option to upgrade to a ‘mid’ or ‘heavy’ pack. Make it easy for the client to move to upgrade or downgrade their packs as they need. The easier you make it, the more likely it is the client will take up your offer when they need extra support. Explicitly defined packs mean you can plan ahead easily and predict future income, and any related expenses, more accurately.

Once you’ve resolved all your current clients into service packs, you need to follow the money. Identify which service packs, for whatever reasons, return the most profits. Focusing on these services in your marketing will be the quickest way to grow your business.

Who are you working with?

Once your service packs are in order, your staff needs to fall into place behind them. The company should be built around the services, after all, not around the pre-existing skills of your staff. Reorganise the company into service packs, instead of departments, and prioritise the high-return service packs above others.

It’s also time (this is the hard part, so apologies in advance) to look at your staff and try to fit their jigsaw puzzle pieces into a cohesive whole. This might means departmental reshuffles; it might mean some staff need to up- or reskilled. Unfortunately, it might mean some staff are made redundant. But in the long term, reliable recurring revenue will create a more stable environment for everyone in your company.

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