Running a digital agency is fast-paced. As a business owner, you must be flexible and willing to adapt daily to your client’s needs and wants. To tackle these challenges, at Strafe Creative, we have adopted a continuous improvement method called “Kaizen” as a strategy for growth and improvement.
Here’s how it works and how you can use it in your SaaS business.
What is the Kaizen Method?
The Kaizen Method is a continuous improvement philosophy originating from Japan. The term “Kaizen” is derived from the Japanese words “Kai,” meaning change, and “Zen,” meaning good.
The philosophy of Kaizen is based on the idea that minor, incremental improvements made consistently over time can lead to significant overall improvement.
Popular in a business setting, the Kaizen Method is often used to improve processes, increase efficiency, and drive innovation. The focus is on making small, rapid changes, gathering feedback, and adjusting as necessary rather than making large, slow, top-down transformations.
Here is why continuous improvement is important at Strafe
We’re passionate about ensuring that you have the best possible experience as a Strafe Creative SaaS client. Whether that’s through our clearly defined processes, strong communication skills, or the great conversion results we guarantee.
We came across the Kaizen method reading James Clear’s book, “Atomic Habits”*, and one particular chapter that looked at marginal gains and the British cycling team. What drew us to this method was the vast difference very small improvements to the cyclists’ routines helped them to make history.
“During the ten-year span from 2007 to 2017, British cyclists won 178 world championships and 66 Olympic or Paralympic gold medals and captured 5 Tour de France victories in what is widely regarded as the most successful run in cycling history” – Atomic Habits, James Clear
In an earlier blog, I talked about the Welcome Dashboard, a straightforward, easy-to-use WordPress dashboard that helps clients manage their new website. Designing and implementing this dashboard was a process of Kaizen-inspired continuous improvement.
One key issue we faced was during client maintenance updates. After downloading a version of the site to update offline (so the website could stay live), we often found that clients would add or change the content. This meant when we uploaded our updates, there were missing parts.
To solve this, we regularly communicated when we were planning scheduled maintenance and that a ‘content freeze’ was in place for 24 hours. This would mean none of the clients would make amends to the site until after we had updated it.
Whilst this went well for a while, we then ran into another issue. Sometimes there were more people with website access than we had anticipated. So whilst we had sent reminder emails, not everyone with back-end access received them. Our next round of continuous improvement for this project led to a pop-up content freeze notification, built into the new Welcome Dashboard.
The result? Anyone who logged in during a scheduled maintenance period would be advised not to make any updates. Over time we ended up with a successful result; however, it was a journey of small, incremental changes that got us there.
How you can use the Kaizen method to improve your SaaS business
Here are five ways we use continuous improvement at Strafe. These are examples that you can incorporate into your SaaS business improvements:
- Set clear goals – For the year or quarter. Give yourself a vision, where do you want your SaaS to be in the future? Throughout that time, you can make small changes that help you get to that place over time without feeling overwhelmed. Sense check against these goals regularly to ensure the improvements made are helping you achieve your vision.
- Note down “snags” or “errors” – When things go wrong, noting the errors means you have clear documentation that you can address. We have a dedicated Slack channel for this to note down all key pieces of information.
- Work together to find solutions – Without pointing fingers, address your snag list on a team call and source new ideas or approaches as a group to avoid the same issues happening again.
- Update your processes – Having a set of clear processes can offer a consistent experience for your clients. Look to improve these regularly and ensure this is clearly updated and communicated to the whole team. Our business is very process-driven, so for us at Strafe, it’s really important we all know these updates. The same is probably true for your SaaS product team.
- Put your client at the heart of your ideas – How can you ensure you’re delivering the best results for your clients? By understanding their needs and issues, you can ensure that your processes and methodologies are aligned. This focus has seen us grow our business and offer USPs like the Welcome Dashboard. You can use exactly the same technique to increase your MRR with new conversions and reduce churn.
If you need some help setting up your SaaS goals and product improvement list, we have some articles to help you think about your next steps:
- 8 sales challenges every SaaS startup faces (and how to address them)
- What makes a good SaaS product? Insights from the Strafe team
- 8 reasons why your SaaS sign-ups are low (and how to fix it)
Need a helping hand to get your SaaS improvements checked off your to-do list? Pop your details into our Project Planner below, and let us show you what we can do!
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