We're a small SaaS provider for child welfare agencies and even though we have been in business for five years and offer one of the most robust case management solutions, we have a problem with reassuring prospects that we will stay in business.
All of our main competitors are pretty large and have been around much longer, so we always get asked this question: "How can you assure us that you will still be around to support us in 10 years?"
We offer an "Ownership" option so clients can pay a one-time fee to purchase the software outright and host it themselves, but this doesn't seem appealing enough.
It seems like we really need to partner with a company that's not a competitor that will be able to take over the hosting and support if something should happen to us. The hard part is that our software is so robust its difficult for a tech support person to become an expert and provide the level of customization that we provide.
How do you find someone like this without spending all your time going to networking events?
What should the partnership terms be?
"How can you assure us that you will still be around to support us in 10 years?"
You'll be doing your part by your patronage, which we appreciate, and if you truly take our best interest to heart, it wouldn't hurt if you help make sure your accounting department pays our invoices on time! -smile-
Things happen with bigger companies too. They get bought out by even bigger companies and their product gets stale or discontinued.
There is no 100% safety net.
I typically just say that if for some reason we go out of business that we will offer a 90 day transition plan that will give all of our customers access to their data and our product to host in an environment of their choosing. 90 days will be plenty of time to find a technical vendor and to perform the process with the given instructions.
Something like that... where you just ensure them you won't disappear. Assuming there are a couple of you in the business you shouldn't just vanish. If money is tight and you are going under you should be able to keep your servers up 3 more months for a transition plan.
Or build a $X amount in any contract that the customer can choose to switch from the Saas to a self hosted plan, and that gets automatically executed at a Y% discount if you go under.
I think a lot of people really like working with small businesses. There are a lot of upsides, but I do not like working with single person businesses. You have to have some redundancy.
Hmmmm ... asking for business longivity in an era where the architecture morphs every 3-5 years ... perhaps some illumination can be gained by looking at other providers and seeing what they are doing