How to find profitable SaaS Business Ideas (3 simple frameworks)
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Today, I’ll share three powerful frameworks that I frequently used in my consulting to help identify untapped market niches. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting your journey, these frameworks will help you generate fresh and profitable SaaS ideas.
Framework #1: Create the “OS for X”
Instead of developing standalone software products for specific use cases, consider developing a comprehensive, holistic, and all-encompassing solution that addresses the entire user journey within a specific sector.
Here are a few characteristics of this approach:
Ask yourself: What are the complexities of X workflow? How many steps are involved? How can you standardize them?
Imagine building a SaaS solution like Carta.com (~$2,500/year), which functions as an operating system for equity management. Carta provides a platform that streamlines various processes related to equity ownership, cap table management, and investor relations.
To create OS-like SaaS, you can combine multiple operational components into a unified platform.
Practice.do ($28/month), for example, it’s like an OS for one-person businesses. The platform provides coaches, consultants, and advisors with the tools they need to run their businesses, such as scheduling, booking, payments, CRM, forms, contracts, and file storage.
Ask yourself: How might we help users reduce the need for additional software in order to complete the full journey of these tasks?
TravelPerk.com ($99/month), for example, serves as a corporate travel operating system. Instead of switching back and forth between trip booking, accounting, and HR software, the platform combines them all.
To simplify corporate travel management, the platform consolidates travel booking, trip management, travel policy enforcement, expense management, and invoicing under one roof.
Framework #2: Monetize the data economy
Another easy way to generate new SaaS business ideas is to think in terms of creating and making money using data (not in an evil way 😈).
If you take a look at today’s software landscape, you will notice an increasing abundance of data generation.
Social media platforms, consumer marketplaces, keyword searches, marketing performance data, and wearable devices are just a few examples of the diverse data sources contributing to this abundance.
Here is how to apply this framework:
(1) Analytics software
Help businesses make data-driven decisions by developing advanced analytics tools that enable businesses to extract valuable insights.
There are many types of analytics software you can think of. One example in the e-commerce space is Helium10.com ($29/month) — a research platform that helps Amazon sellers quickly find profitable products in high-converting niches.
In other words, Helium10 is an example of monetizing publicly available data on Amazon. The platform provides sellers with intelligent insights and automation capabilities by leveraging data such as product listings, keyword searches, and best-selling products.
(2) Synthetic data
Create and sell high-quality AI-generated synthetic datasets for machine learning model training.
With the rise of AI, the demand for accelerating the development of new AI models also increases.
This created a new market for synthetic data, where platforms like Tonic.ai provides diverse and realistic data scenarios without compromising data privacy or security.
(3) Value-add existing data
Repackage existing datasets and improve them for a better user experience, usability, and performance.
In other words, you can build new SaaS platforms by aggregating the vast amount of public data available on the Internet and then adding features like valuable insights, reporting, and trends.
For example, PitchBook.com (~$24,000/year for 3 users) monetizes company data and contact details. It provides comprehensive data and insights on company investors, mergers and acquisitions, funding, valuation, and publicly-traded companies.
Framework #3: App Store Economy
Another way to find new SaaS business ideas is to tap into existing software marketplaces such as the App Store, Chrome Web Store, WordPress Plugins, and Shopify Web Store.
These marketplaces are where developers are actively creating native integration, plugins, and extensions for specific platform users, providing clues to finding niche SaaS ideas you never thought of.
(1) Consumer SaaS:
Help people to improve their personal productivity and efficiency in everyday life.
For example, RISEscience.com ($59.99/year) is a sleep and energy tracker that provides analytics and scientifically supported health recommendations to improve sleep quality.
(2) Chrome extension:
Develop browser-native solutions that can improve work/life productivity.
For example, MomentumDash.com ($39.95/year) turns your Chrome New Tab into a productivity dashboard with tools like Pomodoro timer, to-do list, reminders, bookmarks, white noise, inspirational quotes, and more.
(3) Ecommerce SaaS:
Help e-commerce merchants to improve sales and reduce cart abandonment
If you’re passionate about creating software for e-commerce businesses, the Shopify App Store is a good place to start.
Not to mention, the Shopify ecosystem is constantly expanding, with over 4 million e-commerce websites built on top of this platform.
Verbiai.com ($17.99/month), for example, is a ChatGPT for Shopify business owners that optimizes product descriptions, meta content, and ad copywriting for improved SEO performance.
Validate people’s willingness to pay for your idea
Updated on Jan 19, 2024
I’ve combined various tactics, frameworks, and processes to determine whether your product ideas have the potential to be monetized.