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The Top Ten Dos and Don’ts of SaaS Business Success
This section is intentionally titled “Leverage your community” instead of “Engage your community.” Community engagement is great, but if you are in a for-profit business then any action you take should ultimately result in either increased revenue or reduced costs. A recurring theme in this list of dos and don’ts is that software-as-a-service businesses must take advantage Web-based automation and network effects to reduce costs, especially labor costs. So what is the true economic value of your community to your business? Free labor. Honest labor. Loyal labor. Viral labor.
By reaching out to your advocates and supporting their goals be they back-office or blogging, you are putting feet on the street. If you are a startup with a sales force of two, all of a sudden you find yourself with a sales force of hundreds or thousands or millions! When you open up your application and encourage your own customers to crowdsource improvements, then you can check items off your roadmap without writing a single line of code. There are plenty of books out there that will give you tips and tricks on how to do this. The point of this rule is simply to emphasize why a software-as-a-service business absolutely must do it as a matter of survival.