With Time on Hand 🕙, Will SaaS Sink ⚓ or Swim 🏊

I recently attended an online bookkeeping seminar. The instructor pointed out how this is the time to dust off the books and take a closer look at how your business is structured from the financial perspective. “People put it off, but now they have the time.” I’m sure you have no shortage of suggestions on how to best use your “new found free time.” Don’t worry, this post isn’t whether there actually is additional time or how to spend it. What was more interesting to me was when he went on to say, “It’s great we have this technology. Not only to run this class, but great, online tools allowing small businesses to handle all their books electronically.” Here was a brick and mortar, paper and pencil business owner promoting tech tools that could be viewed as eliminating his job.

Working from home is forcing business transformation, not just in communications as I wrote about in the last post, but in the way a business operates and manages overhead. This takes the form in general tools such as:

  • productivity (i.e. word processing, spreadsheets, etc.)
  • file sharing
  • project management

This transformation applies to companies of any size and organizational structure. Online vendors have pricing, access tiers, and packages that will accommodate you. You may be familiar with the free-mium model, where an entire app is free and advanced, or premium, features require payment. General productivity tools, web publishing, and email are great examples of this model.

Once you start looking at industry or job specific tools, such as bookkeeping or photo editing, there are more tiers, usually in the good-better-best model. Perhaps you can start with a free 30 day trial with one login and a core set of features. For an additional fee, you unlock more storage, inter-connectivity with other apps, or a full set of built-in capabilities. At the higher end, there could be a team access version that allows for collaboration among peers, each with their own login. Of course there are always additional plugin-ins or add-ons. Online providers are always happy to take your money.

While many indicators point to reduced spending during (as well as some time after) this 30 days of #StayAtHome to Slow the Spread period, this has led to some declaring the end of a great run by SaaS companies. Yes, there will certainly be consolidation, acquisitions of talent shops on the cheap, and copycat services will fade away. I prefer the optimism Louis Colombus outlines in the conclusions of his Forbes article on COVID-19’s impact, where he predicts a “potential increases in spending on specialized software.”  My brick and mortar, pencil pushing instructor sees it.  He can’t be the only one.

Stay healthy and keep streaming!