When founders wanted to launch a new business 20 years ago, they would have to work with an engineer or hand-code almost every aspect of their product experience: their website, the ability to accept online payments, their customer dashboard, and more.
Then, tools like Wix and Squarespace came along, allowing founders to use prebuilt website templates and drag-and-drop elements to create their online presence. Shopify also streamlined the experience, enabling startups to quickly launch a full ecommerce and payments experience—with minimal code required.
Today, there is an extensive landscape of no-code tools for almost every scenario, including data visualization, workflow automation, mobile apps, checkouts, commerce, and more. Founders and engineers are able to stitch together no-code tools to build powerful end-to-end flows, allowing them to move faster, enable more customization and flexibility, and focus on higher priority business initiatives.
This guide focuses on three ways no-code tools can help founders launch a business today, whether that be a SaaS company, an ecommerce business, or as a freelancer. You’ll read about three startup founders and how they used no-code tools in their own business and their lessons learned.
Launching a SaaS business
With a recurring revenue model, SaaS companies can increase growth and customer engagement, generate reliable cash flow, and lower customer acquisition costs. Each year, more online companies adopt recurring revenue models—in fact, tens of thousands of SaaS businesses joined Stripe to manage their online recurring revenue in the past year. And, according to a Stripe survey, 43% of software businesses are actively planning to launch subscriptions in the next five years to generate stable revenue during today’s economic challenges.
In order to grow successfully, it’s important for these SaaS startups to focus on the highest impact activities for their business. However, it’s common for startups to devote significant time and resources to setting up their billing infrastructure—at the expense of focusing on their core business.
For example, many SaaS businesses initially try to build a billing solution themselves but underestimate the long-term complexity and costs. A homegrown solution needs to be continuously maintained to support new product launches, business models, pricing experiments, global expansion, changes in regulatory requirements, and a host of other challenges as businesses grow. In fact, 45% of startups we surveyed for the 2023 Stripe Insights report regret building a homegrown solution.
Other SaaS startups may adopt various point solutions in an effort to avoid homegrown billing solutions—such as standalone products to manage just billing or just reporting. It is time-consuming and costly to identify, evaluate, integrate, and train your team on each solution, and this growing infrastructure of point solutions rapidly turns into a stack of disparate legacy solutions that is complex to navigate.
How Betafi used no-code tools to launch quickly without compromising the user experience
Ethan Sherbondy, cofounder and chief technology officer at user research platform Betafi, understood how important it was to make the right technology decision at the early stages of the company—one that would allow his team to get up and running easily and scale as the business grew.
“We decided to use Stripe’s no-code tools like the pricing table and customer portal, which have been really helpful for us to get our paid subscriptions off the ground quickly without having to compromise on the user experience. We were able to start onboarding paying customers overnight. We launched the pricing table and enabled the subscription flow directly in the Stripe Dashboard, and sold our first subscriptions all within one day,” said Ethan.
With Stripe, Betafi was able to onboard their first few subscription customers. Then, as they refined their self-serve offering, they used Stripe’s API to further customize the billing experience “while still benefiting from the baseline configuration we got off the ground from the Stripe Dashboard.”
“As founders we need to go custom for the things that really make us stand out, and ruthlessly prune and go for best-in-class external offerings for the rest, especially in this hypercompetitive and more capital-constrained macro environment,” said Ethan.
How Stripe can help
Stripe’s suite of no-code tools gives you what you need to get to market faster—without diverting development resources. You can:
- Create an embeddable pricing table in the Stripe Dashboard to configure, customize, and update product and pricing information, without needing to write any code.
- Redirect customers to a prebuilt checkout flow to complete their purchase. The checkout experience is optimized for any device, supports 30+ languages and 135+ currencies, dynamically shows the most relevant payment methods, and allows you to customize the brand settings to match the look and feel of your site.
- Give customers the ability to manage their billing information, subscriptions, and invoices with Stripe’s customer portal.
- Use apps from the Stripe App Marketplace to analyze your subscription revenue, reduce churn, or manage your bookkeeping.
Starting an ecommerce business
While a frictionless checkout experience is vital for any business model, its importance is magnified for ecommerce: Customers expect streamlined payment experiences—ones that give them what they want, when they want it. In fact, a previous Stripe study on ecommerce checkout flows found that while the average checkout takes three minutes to complete, 52% of customers in North America abandon their cart if it takes more than two minutes to complete their purchase. That means ecommerce businesses are losing more than half of all online customers who intend to make a purchase.
The highest performing checkouts are made up of dozens of small optimizations executed seamlessly. For example, displaying descriptive error messaging when customers enter the wrong payment information, supporting address auto-complete, and allowing customers to save their payment information for future use.
However, startups rarely have the time or development resources to focus 100% on their checkout experience nor maintain it as they scale to ensure they’re offering the latest features to optimize conversion. Ecommerce startups also need to invest heavily in their product-market fit, branding, and marketing strategy, which can help them differentiate their business.
How Tiller quickly launched a pilot program with a payment link
Heather Phillips, the customer success lead and product owner at Tiller, was looking for a way to quickly experiment with a gift program over the holidays. The automated, spreadsheet-based personal finance company already used Stripe for its entire payments and billing infrastructure and decided to use Stripe Payment Links to help pilot their “Give the gift of Tiller” program.
“Setting up a payment link for our gift program was super intuitive—it took me 10 minutes or less to set up, and I didn’t have to ask our engineers for help,” said Heather. “Just the other day, I officially set up our Tiller Coaching product in Stripe and was able to immediately and automatically charge the customer’s card on file after a session.”
While no-code tools like Payment Links allow businesses to move quickly when they need to, Heather says “it doesn’t mean decisions should be made hastily.” A no-code solution may impact or touch many other aspects of the product, and it was important to her to consider the best possible user experience and consult with other stakeholders.
“Before launching our gift program, I studied all the options and really thought through what the experience was going to be like for the customer and for our billing teams before finally creating the payment link to ensure it was the right choice all around,” she said.
How Stripe can help
Use Stripe Payment Links to create a full payment page in just a few clicks and share the link with your customers—no code required. You can sell across any channel, including web, email, SMS, social media, and others, and share the link in any format that works for your business (such as a hyperlink, buy button, or QR code). You can also:
- Customize the payments page to match your branding.
- Enable local payment methods to let your customers choose their most relevant payment experience.
- Offer promotions, upsells, and cross-sells.
Accepting payments for your freelance, consulting, or professional services business
In 2022, more than 39% of the US workforce participated in freelance work—that’s more than 60 million people in the US alone and the highest rate ever recorded. With the continued rise of freelance work, also referred to as independent consulting or professional services businesses, it is necessary that these workers have a simple, professional way to get paid.
Many freelancers start by using digital wallets to get paid, but these options lack the professional appeal and administrative functionality that many freelance workers need. For example, they often have to create their own invoice, collect payment through the digital wallet, and then manually track collections and business data in a separate spreadsheet. To streamline payments, some freelancers may use a software solution designed for payment collection, but these tools can be clunky and complicated, requiring technology skills that freelancers may not have.
How RevSherpas gets paid faster with a no-code, hosted invoicing page
When he first started his revenue growth consultancy RevSherpas, Kevin Wessels was looking for a secure, intuitive payment processing tool that both he and his clients could use and trust. He also wanted to avoid “the headaches a non-IT guy typically experiences when setting up new infrastructure.”
He decided to use the no-code invoicing payment collection page hosted on Stripe. He was able to quickly send invoices, expedite payment collection, initiate recurring payments, track client spending trends, and create consistent cash flow.
“By leveraging Stripe’s subscription feature, I’m able to get paid faster for many of my recurring revenue relationships. Plus, the prebuilt invoice templates and product catalog allow me to produce and send invoices in seconds rather than minutes. Additionally, the real-time visibility of top clients based on total payments is a great reminder of where I should be spending most of my time to better nurture, serve, and expand those top-tier relationships,” said Kevin.
How Stripe can help
With Stripe’s hosted invoice page, businesses can build, customize, and send an invoice to their customers in just a few clicks—without any code. Customers can:
- View the details, amounts, and status of the invoice.
- Pay the invoice using any of the enabled payment methods.
- Download PDF copies of the invoice and receipt.
Businesses can also track invoices, collect overdue payments, and analyze their business metrics in the Stripe Dashboard.
No-code tools scale with your business
No-code solutions can help founders throughout their company life cycle, from inception to expansion, without compromising on functionality. For example, many startups use no-code solutions to quickly get market validation for their business idea and then, as they grow and scale their business, they often graduate to more end-to-end, no-code workflows. Regardless of when you decide to use no-code tools, the upside can be monumental.
“I would encourage other founders to embrace low- and no-code solutions so they can invest precious team resources in the things that really matter and differentiate their products. Every line of code that you write that isn’t contributing to your core product differentiation is a liability and maintenance burden for the rest of your company’s existence,” said Ethan from Betafi.