How to save a business …

Back in 2008 I started a SAAS for professional photographers without any outside funding.  I brought in another developer around the same time and it’s just been the two of us working full time on it ever since.  In the beginning we were making enough money to pay the bills, attend trade shows, do some marketing and advertising…etc. But, these days we’re barely making enough to pay the bills.  Our application has grown so large that it takes us forever to make any significant updates since it’s just the two of us and we don’t have a large dev team and can’t afford one.  During the last few years, other competitors have popped up offering a more polished basic solution, but with a heck of a lot less features, for a much lower price.  We’ve tried lowering our pricing and coming up with more attractive monthly plans but they’ve had little if no impact on sales.

The only way that I can see becoming competitive again would be to completely rewrite our entire application to make it more attractive to new customers.  This would require bringing on a development team with cash that we don’t have.  I don’t have any experience with funding so I’m not sure if that’s even an option at this point.

Selling the business seems like it might be another option but again, I don’t have any experience in this area and wouldn’t know where to begin finding potential buyers or how to even determine a value.

On a different and unrelated yet somewhat related note, I had an idea for a new wearable hardware product and built a rough but fully functional prototype that I think has some huge potential.  I feel lost and not sure where to focus my limited energy and resources.  Ideally, I’d like to save or sell my current business and start something fresh and new at the same time, but I’m afraid that might be wishful thinking.  Thoughts?


  • It sounds like your current model is never going to work unless you can slim this down and iterate and learn more quickly. If this we me I would develop an MVP for a new slimlined product with just the core features that you know your users love. As long as this becomes something you can iterate on quickly it will gain you more growth in the future. Alternatively can you pivot to a more specific area if the market and charge more per customer for specialist features rather than catering for a more general market?

    Just because you have mentioned the wearable make it sound as though this is where you want to spend energy and you should follow this if you can. At the same time that you build your streamline MVP go and do some customer development on your wearable and then validate the prototype and see how many potential order you can generate. You may run yourself ragged in the next few months doing both but by the end of the ‘race’ you will have a clear winner on which to focus your energy.

    Whatever you do don’t do any of this based on gut feel Aline. Make sure you back up all your decisions with data – if everything falls apart at the end at least you can say you didn’t throw it away on a whim.

    Good luck

  • You keep stating I wouldn’t know where to start on some of these potential ideas.

    Do you realize all the information you need is here online ? You sound wore down mentally.

  • Lots of our indecision comes from our concern for how others will perceive our decisions. Be bold, get data (you’ll kick yourself if you don’t), and decide what’s best, then act without a second thought. That’s my two cents. Go get it!

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