How Small Businesses Can Avoid The Dreaded Subscriptions Fatigue?

Dreaded Subscriptions Fatigue

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has revolutionized tech and IT solutions for businesses in recent years, particularly when it comes to small businesses, which can now access powerful tools, without the burden of high upfront licensing fees.

However, this same concept has now come back to bite us, with the increasing use of subscription-based services weighing down on businesses and their margins, with regular monthly payments for crucial technologies, resulting in what some industry experts dub, subscription fatigue.

This problem is now so pervasive that dedicated tools such as have since emerged, offering a much-needed solution to reduce SAAS wastage.

In this article, we cover the challenges that small businesses face in regards to the dreaded subscription fatigue, and the measures they can take to overcome the same.

Avoid The Dreaded Subscriptions Fatigue?

Assess & Prioritize Essential Services

Small businesses should categorize services based on their importance and impact on daily operations in evaluating subscriptions. 

Consider services that directly contribute to revenue generation, customer satisfaction, and productivity as top priorities. For instance, a sales-focused business may prioritize customer relationship management (CRM) software, while a creative agency may prioritize graphic design tools.

It’s essential to involve key stakeholders in the evaluation process, including department heads and employees who regularly use the Software in question. Their insights and feedback can help identify the most critical tools for the organization. 

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Regularly review the list of essential services to ensure it stays relevant and aligned with the business’s changing needs and objectives. Periodic assessments help identify potential redundancies and areas where consolidation is possible.

Negotiate Customized Plans & Discounts

When negotiating with SAAS and cloud computing service providers, focus on the value your business brings. If your company is a loyal and long-term customer, emphasize the commitment and willingness to continue the partnership, as such an approach can lead to more favorable terms and discounts. 

Feel free to explore competitor offerings and leverage that information during negotiations, as providers are more likely to offer competitive rates if they understand you are actively exploring alternatives.

However, negotiations should not solely revolve around pricing, and should also consider other factors like service-level agreements, customer support, and data security, among other things. Balancing cost-effectiveness with service quality is essential for a successful partnership.

Utilize Free Trials & Test Periods Wisely

Before signing up for a free trial, set specific goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the software’s performance objectively. 

Determine the critical functionalities required, the level of user-friendliness, and the tool’s scalability potential. Involve employees who will be using the Software in the testing process, as their feedback can help uncover potential challenges or compatibility issues with existing systems.

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Make use of resources provided by the SAAS provider during the trial period. Attend webinars, read documentation, and contact customer support to address questions or concerns, in order to form a well-rounded understanding of the tool before taking action.

Embrace Open-Source Alternatives

Embracing open-source alternatives can be a powerful strategy for small businesses to avoid subscription fatigue and reduce IT expenses substantially. Here are additional points to ponder when considering open-source solutions.

  • Community Support & Active Development: Before committing to open-source software, assess the strength of its community support and the level of activity in its development.

    A vibrant and active community indicates that the Software continuously evolves, with regular updates and improvements. This ensures that the Software remains relevant, secure, and up-to-date with industry trends.

    Look for forums, user groups, and online communities dedicated to open-source Software, and engage with these communities to gain insights, seek help, and share experiences with other users. 

Such interactions can provide valuable knowledge and foster a sense of camaraderie within the open-source community.

  • Customizability: One of the significant advantages of open-source Software is the ability to customize and modify it according to specific business needs.

    Small businesses can tailor the Software to match their workflows and processes, improving efficiency and productivity.

    In order to make the most of this, explore the extensibility of the open-source solution through available plugins, extensions, or APIs. This flexibility allows for seamless integration with existing software systems, reducing disruptions during the transition.
  • Data Ownership & Security: Small businesses have complete ownership and control over their data with open-source software.

    Unlike some SAAS solutions where data may reside on the provider’s servers, open-source Software can be hosted on the company’s private servers or a trusted third-party infrastructure.

    This arrangement enhances data security and ensures compliance with industry-specific regulations.
  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Analysis: While open-source Software may seem cost-effective initially due to the absence of subscription fees, conducting a comprehensive Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis is essential.

    Consider initial setup costs, ongoing maintenance, support, and potential employee training expenses. There is also the factor of opportunity costs, that is the loss incurred by choosing an open-source solution, as against a more powerful enterprise software.
  • Vendor Independence & Business Continuity: By adopting open-source Software, small businesses reduce their dependence on specific vendors.

    In the SAAS model, reliance on a single provider may result in vulnerability to price hikes, changes in service terms, or even discontinuation of the service. Open-source Software offers more significant control and continuity, safeguarding the business from potential disruptions.
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Wrapping Up: Dreaded Subscriptions Fatigue

Despite the undeniable benefits of digital transformation for small businesses, subscription fatigue was a flip side that no one could foresee. Without proper measures to address these concerns, software can end up eating the world, in the literal sense. 

The tips mentioned above and best practices are a great place to get started with your SAAS rationalization, but in the long run, we expect the industry to come up with better pricing models for small businesses, genuinely delivering value to the mainstream economy.

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