Biggest risk for early bootstrapped SaaS?

What do you think is the biggest risk facing an early-stage SaaS product business? (<2 years old).

I’m working on my 2015 planning, and including a risk management piece. I’m curious what other just-getting-started SaaS folks worry about, and also what the veterans see in the rear view mirror.

Making something people don’t pay (enough) money for.


I think the biggest risk is spending too much time building a product without evaluating product/market fit.


Great, thanks. Beyond “poor product/market fit” here’s the list of risks I’ve got so far:

  • Application downtime
  • Data loss
  • Data breach
  • Run out of $$
  • Heavy reliance on solo founder
  • Lawsuit
  • Emergence of a strong competitor

To include in my 2015 planning, I’m going to pick the most urgent 3 or 4, and include a couple of improvements I can make this year to mitigate those risks.

I think you already have pretty strong competitors assuming we are talking about that Jiffy conference product.

I’m in a related space and see similar apps to Jiffy on a regular basis. :wink:

I am indeed! Obviously I need to do some more competitor research, as I’ve largely come up empty-handed, at least in the call-for-papers and committee review space. And they need to do more marketing, because the conference planners I’ve been talking with this year aren’t aware of them either. :smile:

Shoot me a couple of names or URLs to check out when you have a minute. I’d like to know more.

I run a niche jobboard and the recruiting industry is …
a) … moving at a faster pace than ever, startups with new business models popping up in every corner
b) … slow in adapting change
One of my fears is, that 1) new stuff I’m developing is not adopted or 2) I miss out on important developments. It’s static and dynamic at the same time - it’s scary :slight_smile: .

Lawsuits is definitely also a worry. In Germany there are so many new laws and regulations popping up. Did you know that if I only put “Buy” (= Kaufen) on the buying button, there would be no official contract? It needs to say “Do Cost-incurring Payment Now” (= Jetzt kostenpflichtig zahlen) or some small variations. Actually I kind of like this rule (because I once had a company “trick” me - because they made a ca. 200 EUR purchase agreement look like a simple newsletter subscription), but with so many new rules and data regulations, it’s kind of hard to keep up. And with the recruiting industry being so competitive, you need to be on the lookout.

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So I’m not buying–I’m “incurring a cost payment.” Crazy world! (And hardly unique to Germany. :grimacing:)

Well, it can also be “Buy with costs incurred” sort of. But “Buy” is not enough (because it can by buying a subscription which might be a free trial, thus “costs incurred” is important) and a company lost a case because of that.