The following is a guest post by Patrick Jobin.
In the early days of the Internet, starting an ecommerce business was tough, risky and expensive. Even simple online products needed months of programming and expensive IT infrastructure investments.
New start-ups frequently required 6 or 7 figures worth of venture capital, and nobody even knew how the market would respond to the new offering.
But that was before "Cloud Computing" came along.
We're now living in the age of Web 2.0, and things have changed a lot. Thanks to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), you can now start your own customized online service quickly and cheaply, while minimizing your business risk.
For just about any online business idea you can possibly think of, someone else has already created a similar version with different features. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, why not just borrow their code and modify it to fit your vision of the "perfect online service"?
Yes! This is possible, and it's easy to do.
There are currently hundreds of partner programs and free APIs available that will allow you to create your own white-label applications, with customized features for your niche.
Let's take Online Backup as a new business example:
At first, "Online Backup" might seem like an over-saturated market with no room for growth. There are literally hundreds of "mainstream" online backup services being offered. And it would be very difficult for a small business to compete with any of these major brands.
However, there are a number of lucrative niches with very specific needs that are currently being under-served by generic "all-purpose" online backup solutions.
A few niche examples that come to mind would be:
- Japanese Online Backup
- Arabic Online Backup
- Online Backup for Doctors
- Online Backup for Tablet PCs
- Online Backup For Charities
- The list goes on...
Every niche group has their own feature preferences, their own ways of doing business, and their own industry-specific regulations that must be followed. By creating a customized service that's "just for them", you can get sales more easily, create barriers-to-entry for competitors, and encourage word-of-mouth referral business.
Rather than spend a fortune on servers & code, just license the technology from an existing online backup provider, then modify its features based on what your niche is asking for.
When you let someone else handle the overhead for you, it frees up more of your time & money, eliminates business risk, and ensures that you'll become profitable more quickly. And once your first application becomes successful, that brand can then be leveraged to sell other SaaS services such as:
- VoiP For Charities
- CRM For Charities
- Web Hosting for Charities
- Hosted Email For Charities
- Nevada Online Backup
The possibilities are limitless.
Because each of these is an example of a SaaS service, you can quickly launch your own white-label solution without having to invest heavily in R&D.
And best of all, these business ideas represent fully-automated recurring monthly revenue streams that require little or no maintenance on your part. All of the dirty work is outsourced to a third-party.
If you've got an idea for a hot new niche service, or a new way to improve an existing online service, don't bother starting from scratch. There are plenty of companies who will gladly give you access to their in-house technology for significantly less money than you could ever develop it yourself.