Technology

4 Ways to Optimize Your SaaS Business

Businesses of all types rely on technology for various needs – project management, payroll, financials, compliance, retail, communication – the list is ongoing. 

However, technology isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Each industry and business will seek different software to propel their businesses. By choosing the right technologies, companies can focus on running the business and leave the backend work to their SaaS (Software as a Service) providers. 

When developing or updating your software, it’s essential to consider what will give your platform long-term success and ultimately reduce churn. To do so, consider these four key attributes. 

Industry-specific  

Every industry operates differently – you wouldn’t want to leverage the same software for a logistics company that you would for a university. The needs of each sector and business vary greatly. 

Your clients and prospective clients will want software that aligns with the logic of your industry, understands the nuances of the sector, and answers the common problems those specific types of businesses face. 

When it comes to cannabis, remaining compliant is pertinent for business success and survival. Laws vary significantly from one market to the next, which complicates compliant operation. Failure to adhere to cannabis compliance laws is a daily risk that operators face with potentially business-ending repercussions in the most severe cases.  

To keep up with the varying regulations, cannabis businesses often seek software offerings that prioritize compliance checks that guarantee the safety of the products they are bringing to market. To answer that unique and crucial need for compliance in the cannabis industry, we’ve prioritized our compliance gateway and ensured that every other offering we have connects to that.  

Our software is designed by the cannabis industry for the cannabis industry. 

Scalability 

When designing software, you also need to consider the longevity of your offerings.  

When looking to scale, businesses will quickly realize that the spreadsheet solutions and simple tools they used to start their business won’t support them when their team, revenue, and clients grow to 2x-200x the size.  

For example, the cannabis industry that we operate in is rapidly consolidating. Many operators and ancillary brands are undergoing mergers and acquisitions, and with that, seeing their teams and client or customer base grow exponentially. To answer growth needs, we’ve built our business to offer a complete portfolio of leading tax and financials, suitable for a cannabis business from the day it opens its doors to becoming an MSO (multi-state operator). 

To support businesses at all growth cycles, offer tools that answer the needs of various levels of business growth. By providing an ecosystem of ranging tools that simplify a business of any size, you will streamline the scaling process for your customers and make it harder for them to leave the platform.   

Education 

Every industry and job requires some level of education. Whether learning how to cook a restaurant’s specific dish, build a home, or operate software, some level of preparation is needed before an employee is considered trained and ready.  

My colleague Ray Thompson, Akerna COO, recently wrote a piece that goes into depth on software education and shared three top tips: 

  1. Offer a variety of comprehensive learnings
  2. Evaluate platform use to optimize education
  3. Ensure consumer-facing staff are confident

Through offering various forms of training that educate every part of your business, you will experience a ripple effect, from senior management, all the way down to customers.  

In cannabis, education is crucial. Cannabis is now medically and/or recreationally legal in 36 states and various countries, yet stigma and confusion remain around the plant and its medical benefits. Suppose your consumer-facing staff can’t describe products and doses confidently. In that case, you run the risk of losing that consumer’s interest in your offerings and possibly the whole industry.

By educating every part of your industry, you will inform the people that drive sales – clients, customers, and consumers. 

Ecosystem 

While your software may answer the primary needs of your industry, each unique client may need specific add-ons that benefit their business. To meet the client at their needs, offer an ecosystem of products and integrations. Give your customers the autonomy to decide what tools they need to run their unique business. 

To deliver those unique needs that each customer requires, offer an Open Application Programming Interface (API). APIs are sets of rules and requirements that decide how different applications interact with each other. By providing an Open API, you open your platform to all tools from various providers, who integrate into a single point of entry. This takes out the need to re-write code, a lengthy process that can come with high costs and error rates. 

We chose to offer an open API to the cannabis industry because we understand the various and specific needs of each operator and the varying state regulations. Many states will have a required track and trace solution, and we’ve built our software to complement those mandates. 

When you open your API, you create an ecosystem that allows your customers to choose the specific products and integrations they need to run their unique business while minimizing the backend coding work. 

By optimizing your SaaS platforms to meet your industry and clients’ unique needs, you will make yourself sticky and ultimately reduce churn.

David McCullough

Patricia Miller is the Managing Editor for Cannabis & Tech Today. She covers science, technology, and policy shaping the legal cannabis industry. Miller is also an avid kayaker with a proclivity for picnicking. Follow her work on Twitter @_PMiller.

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