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InfoQ Homepage Articles How SaaS Platforms Can Provide Career Opportunities to "Quiet Quitters"

How SaaS Platforms Can Provide Career Opportunities to "Quiet Quitters"


Key Takeaways

  • A recent survey shows a significant number of workers would rather be fired than return to the office. 
  • Entrepreneurs set on working from home can start their own businesses if they find the right SaaS platform for the industry they want to work in.
  • The best business-targeted SaaS platform will utilize artificial intelligence and automation to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  • Developers wanting to tap this trend may want to design their business-targeted platforms with these characteristics: white-label, proprietary, sales- and retention-focused, and win/win.
  • Here are some inspirations to get SaaS developers started on developing successful platforms that tap this work-from-home trend for entrepreneurs.

Innovation springs from many avenues, including unexpected events like the COVID-10 pandemic, changes in industries, markets, or demographics, and problem-solving. The reaction to the pandemic drove some significant changes to the way we do business. As a result, this unexpected event presented many opportunities to start new businesses—and design the tech that drives those businesses.

When the pandemic began, it seemed the whole world was shut down almost instantly, shuttering businesses of every kind and putting people out of work. All those closures left people around the globe with ample time on their hands. The closures also led to growing creativity around how to make a living when going into the office, store, or any other place of business became an impossibility.

Many are willing to risk getting fired by refusing to return

As people’s fears over COVID-19 infection started to decline, many companies called on their employees to return to the office or other place of business. However, a significant percentage of workers just aren't having it.

A recent survey conducted by RELI Exchange found that 26% of those who worked remotely during the pandemic are refusing to comply with their employer's mandate to return to the office at least part time. These employees often fit the popular category of "quiet quitter," which means they are refusing to do anything more than the bare minimum required of them.

Interestingly, the RELI Exchange survey also found that the percentage of workers who plan to start a business if they get fired is just as high as the percentage of those who simply plan to find another job—at 40% for each. Only 11% plan to ask for their job back, while just 8% plan to take an extended break.

It may seem strange that so many people are willing to risk getting fired, especially amid aggressively increasing interest rates and the threat of a recession. However, a recent Gallup poll uncovered just how widespread this quiet-quitting trend is.

It found that at least half of the workforce in the U.S. is now made up of quiet quitters, and as it turns out, the threat of so-called "quiet firing" is very real. Quiet firing involves making work uncomfortable—or even toxic for these quiet quitters, until they fold and either find another job or, as the RELI Exchange survey found, start their own business.

SaaS platforms make it easy for remote workers to start a business

These sizable percentages of people potentially getting fired or quitting and then starting their own business mean there is ample opportunity for entrepreneurs and software-as-a-service (SaaS) developers alike.

One thing that sprang from the pandemic-era lockdowns has been the spark that caused people with an entrepreneurial mindset to look for ways to move old-school business models online. The innovations that resulted from this spark have made the possibility of starting a business accessible to a wider audience.

However, those innovations require developers with the know-how and prescience to determine which types of businesses can move online without losing the key elements involved in doing business in that space. SaaS developers who understand how a wide variety of businesses work can find some incredible opportunities designing the platforms that enable remote workers to have their own business.

To be successful, these developers will have to draw from the best that today's technology has to offer: artificial intelligence and automation.

Using AI and automation to run a business

One of the biggest challenges with starting a small business is being able to compete with the massive companies that have dominated the market share in that space for years. However, SaaS developers who know how to tap artificial intelligence and automation to drive success in any area of business will enable entrepreneurs to compete with the biggest players in their industry.

For example, artificial intelligence and automation can make businesses operate more efficiently and improve customer satisfaction. Both of these areas often rank highly when customers are searching for a company to do business with.

As a result, entrepreneurs can be nimble and compete with international corporations that have more overhead. For example, RELI Exchange is an insurtech platform that allows entrepreneurs to start their own independent insurance agency. 

It utilizes SaaS technology to automate things like gathering customer information and making recommendations. This reduces the time required to serve a customer significantly, thereby creating a scalable business with very little overhead. Through automation, agents can be more productive and spend more time focusing on growing their business than on the busywork.

What to consider when creating business-targeted SaaS platforms

SaaS developers can look to a wide variety of industries for inspiration on which areas can be the most profitable — both for them as the developer and for the business owners who pay for the rights to use their platforms. The key is to look for industries with traditional or antiquated business models that haven't seen serious innovation or been updated since technology started to grow and revolutionize multiple industries.

Real innovation requires SaaS developers to truly think outside the box and look at what technology makes possible. An easy way to go about selecting industries to revolutionize is to consider which ones primarily operate offline.

Virtually any of these traditionally offline industries are ripe for the picking by SaaS developers with the foresight to imagine what's possible and the skill to develop a platform that every business owner in the space will want to have.

Of course, the most successful business platforms will share some key characteristics. They will be:

  • White-label
  • Proprietary
  • Sales-focused
  • Win/ win/ win

Why white-label platforms are so attractive to entrepreneurs

The first characteristic on this list is something the average SaaS developer might not think about because they are focused on the coding and other skills necessary to get the job done. However, from a small business owner's perspective, utilizing a white-label SaaS platform to start and run their business is quite attractive.

A white-label platform enables them to establish their own brand and use their own name to sell or offer whatever services they specialize in. For business owners, branding is everything because customers often opt for the brand names they know and trust. A white-label SaaS platform gives them a firm foundation upon which to build their business.

Think of a SaaS platform as a turnkey business platform, but by making it white-label, the entrepreneur does business under their own name. Entrepreneurs buy into a platform for multiple reasons, one of which is having a proven model, systems, processes, and coaching, which increases their chances of success.

Laying a firm foundation is critical to success, as any business owner would tell you. However, the added bonus of a white-label platform enables the entrepreneur to truly make the business their own. They're creating their own brand, but they aren't starting from scratch.

A white-label SaaS platform upon which business owners can establish their company offers the best of both worlds: the firm foundation of a proven platform with an already-successful business model paired with the opportunity to build their own brand.

Why proprietary platforms are essential

Next, SaaS developers need to build a moat around the business because they're making money on licensing it out. By making their platform proprietary, developers show business owners why theirs is the best option on the market. In fact, developers who get into platform design with a focus on building ready-made business models for entrepreneurs can corner the market and have a first-mover advantage.

They may find that no one else has thought up ways to revolutionize a particular industry yet. Of course, if their platform is successful, other people will attempt to replicate it. As a result, these developers will need to continue innovating on their proprietary platform to stay ahead of the competition.

Focus on sales and retention

Developers should also consider what it takes to capture the most sales in whatever industry they are targeting with the platform they're developing. Business owners won't go for any tech-driven model that doesn't enable them to maximize their sales.

In some cases, it might be a good idea to collaborate with one or more business owners in the space, especially for developers who don't have extensive knowledge about the industry they're targeting. Seasoned professionals already know what it takes to get sales and can offer insight that could enable developers to create an online or tech-driven version of those sales methods.

An area related to sales is retention. Building a mentorship program into the model will go a long way toward retaining customers because they get real-time training to help them improve their skills and learn how to use the platform more effectively.

Make it win/ win for everyone

Finally, SaaS platforms must offer solutions that allow everyone to win. Those that don't will not be successful. There are three groups that all must win through the use of that platform: the business owner, their customer and the developer that created it.

Business owners must reap multiple benefits from using the platform, including increases in sales, efficiency, and productivity and a decrease in expenses. It's no secret that large corporations turn to automation and technology to accomplish these tasks. Thus, a SaaS platform that packages everything into one product for small business owners enables them to take on their much larger competition more effectively.

For customers, moving the business online can be quite beneficial. For example, the insurance industry was dramatically changed with the advent of online platforms that enabled customers to review multiple quotes all in one place.

Moving other types of businesses online can have similar effects, depending on what types of customer-centric innovations are best suited to each industry. Essentially, developers must figure out what kinds of tech-driven improvements customers want most in that particular industry.

The value of a technical mindset

Of course, SaaS developers bring their own value to the table when it comes to designing platforms for entrepreneurs wanting to start their own tech-driven business. For example, problem-solving is a primary technical skill needed by any developer wishing to design a SaaS platform for entrepreneurs. Successful developers will have to solve the problems associated with creating a platform that fits the needs of entrepreneurs in a particular industry.

Security is also a critical issue. Many entrepreneurs are handling sensitive data like payment information and even, in some cases, Social Security Numbers. Successful SaaS developers will have to build security into their platforms in an unobtrusive way that still allows for the characteristics listed above to be included.

Other considerations developers will have to think about when designing their platforms include compliance for the industry they are targeting, data management, digital marketing, and more. A technical mindset brings value to each of these areas.

Potential pitfalls when developing SaaS platforms for entrepreneurs

Of course, there are always potential pitfalls when working on any kind of technology. Every platform must be completely secure with no loopholes or backdoors. A survey conducted by Archive360 and Pulse found that 58% of global technology leaders say that many SaaS platforms don’t meet all their security requirements. 

Since these business-targeted SaaS platforms are designed for use by a large number of entrepreneurs, developers must aim for the security requirements that fit the standard of whatever industry they’re targeting.

Additionally, developers must remember that the entrepreneurs who buy into their platforms will depend on them if things go wrong. When a serious problem occurs, multiple entrepreneurs may contact them all at once, creating problems for developers who don’t have a communications infrastructure in place to deal with such incidents.

Other potential pitfalls include problems with software integration from other vendors, redundant or ineffective tools or apps, and the so-called “noisy neighbor” effect, which is caused by multiple entrepreneurs using the same SaaS platform.

Tap the “-tech” trend to create solutions for entrepreneurs

With all these other factors in mind, SaaS developers may be looking for a bit of inspiration on what kinds of businesses can benefit the most from revolutionization. They need only look to the trend that has added "-tech" to multiple industries.

Perhaps one of the most well-known is fintech. There have been multiple innovations in the world of finance that have changed the industry forever. Decentralized finance (DeFI) is one of the newer innovations, and there have been many others within that DeFi umbrella. Fintech has been a particularly hot area for investment, so many fintech companies have received sizable valuations, even during the startup phase.

Education was also ripe for revolutionization, resulting in numerous edtech firms that have changed the industry forever. Students no longer need to go to a physical classroom to learn, although even those who do have multiple innovations within the classroom. The point is that more people than ever before have been able to learn in ways that have improved their educational outcomes.

Some other industries that innovation has changed forever include insurance (insurtech), real estate (proptech), law (legaltech), healthcare (healthtech), and food or dining (foodtech).

SaaS startup stories for inspiration

At this point, some developers may have some ideas for which industry you can disrupt with your next SaaS platform. However, some might need a little more to get the creative juices flowing. In fact, some developers may already be sitting on something that would make a great SaaS platform for entrepreneurs—even though they built it for something else. 

For example, Slack’s founders only built the platform as a tool for themselves while working at a gaming company called Tiny Speck. They didn’t realize its commercial use until later. Some developers can find some stellar SaaS ideas based on what their customers need, which is what Mail Chimp’s founders did. 

You might not even need to have a totally new idea. All you need is a platform that greatly improves what’s already available. Plaid’s founders were successful because they felt they could improve upon the other fintech platforms that connected users’ bank accounts to fintech companies. Like Slack’s founders, they only built Plaid because they needed it for something else.

In the case of RELI Exchange, the insurtech platform was built to remove the major barriers for starting an independent agency. Agency partners are provided everything they need to create a future-proof, tech driven, individually branded, independent insurance agency of their own.

Tap into the innovation

Developers need only look at current events for additional ideas. While the response to the pandemic created many problems, it also caused widespread innovation across nearly every industry. Entrepreneurs have more options for starting a business than ever before.

Quiet quitters who vehemently oppose returning to the office suddenly have the ability to start their own businesses online — without the need to establish an office or pay overhead expenses like hiring office staff. In fact, online businesses enable these quiet quitters to start their side hustle part time and then switch to full time when the business is healthy and capable of supporting them without additional income.

Finally, SaaS developers can tap into this trend by creating platforms of their own that are designed to revolutionize an industry in life-changing ways. The success of platforms like the well-known fintech Plaid and the insurtech RELI Exchange demonstrates just how lucrative this opportunity can be for developers. 

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