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Are you planning to build a B2B Software Product?

If your answer is “Yes” and if your target market is small and medium businesses, we have some important tips for you.

Over last 14 years, we have built products for many B2B startups and have made a few of our own B2B products. One of them is PetPooja, AI powered Point of Sale platform for the Restaurants and the other one is, Vastra, making life of small and medium Indian Garment Manufacturers easier.

During our journey, we have faced many common questions around B2B product startups and would like to share our ideas around them.

How important is security and privacy of user data?

Data privacy is the number one concern for any enterprise and it becomes paramount for small and medium enterprises. Many a times, their entire businesses depend on the privacy of their sources.

As a founder, you need to assure them that you are not going to sell their data and no one except them can access it.

One of the ways to do that is, securing transmission of data and encrypting storage, which can only be decrypted by client’s private key. Now a days mobile number and OTP helps us generate that combination of client’s public and private key.

We also suggest that whenever you go for a meeting, always have a signed copy of your privacy policy and security architecture in a visual format. It does not matter if they understand the technicality but your assurance and confidence are more important to them.

Should we build a Web or Mobile App?

This completely depends on the use case but for simple data entry modules, you can opt for a mobile app. It will reduce a lot of friction especially for not so computer friendly India-based small businesses. They are more comfortable with mobile.

For detailed reports, user access and complex data entry screens, you will need to have a tablet and/or desktop interface.

In certain cases, you may need an online and offline mode depending on the Internet availability. In both of our cases, we had to give an offline data entry mechanism, which automatically synced later when the Internet was available.

Should we build an Android App or iOS App or both?

We believe for the Indian B2B market, you can start with an Android App and build iOS App later once you see some traction.

Even though you can build an Hybrid App, we don’t recommend it. Hybrid apps generally give very poor user experience and we don’t like it!

How do we go about marketplace?

In most of the SaaS products, there is a possibility of building a marketplace and it can be a great alternate revenue stream. But marketplaces are very difficult to realise.

Your first priority should be getting at least 1000 active and loyal users on each side of the marketplace.

You should also validate value proposition on supply and demand sides. As per Ash Maurya, author of Running Lean, you should create separate lean canvases for both the sides.

How do we go about initial pricing of our offering?

Pricing in a SaaS company is tricky.

Good part is, however you start – free, freemium or paid, you will be able to adjust your pricing later if your product is solving real problem and have high retention. Petpooja started as a completely Free POS but now they are able to charge restaurants under different heads like annual maintenance contract, hardware deposit, etc.

But we strongly suggest that you do not start free or even at a lower price. At higher price, you will be forced to prove your value, provide better service and your users will take your product seriously.

What should be my focus for the first 6 months?

Acquisition – Activation – Retention – Revenue – Referral.

First, focus on activation (the first time user experience) and retention (user finding value in product and coming back to use it). For that you need to build a product that solves at least one core problem of user very effectively. And once you achieve retention, revenue and referral are guaranteed.

What could be my single biggest differentiator?

There can be many product specific differentiators but any B2B company needs to have a world-class support. No compromise over there if you are in for a long run.

Well, these are some fundamental questions for any B2B startup and if handled correctly at initial stages, they reduce chances of failure by a large extent.

Do share your views or let us know if you have any other questions.

By the way we are good at building software products for entrepreneurs and if you are looking to build one, get in touch!

  • Posted on April 12, 2018

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