How to build a SaaS product step-by-step? A guide for entrepreneurs looking to build a SaaS application.
SaaS products are the future. Okay, What’s SaaS? — Software as a Service.
Meaning what? — Google Drive, Skype, Uber, Salesforce. Now I get it.
Let’s dive into some detail about building SaaS products.
SaaS products are changing the world. They make life easier, boosts productivity and reduce time & cost in our day-to-day activities.
Advantages of building SaaS product
SaaS products can easily boost sales without much change in the resources or effort. If built in a scalable way, the effort for making a customer base of 50 and 50K would be the same.
Some advantages of building SaaS products than building conventional software are:
- A centralized SaaS platform is easier and cheaper to maintain than the traditional desktop software model.
- SaaS can help companies reduce software piracy, as it is much harder to pirate cloud-based software.
- Easy to Upgrade — Software vendor can easily push out upgrades and security patches to make it secure for every user.
- Instantly Accessible — It can be accessed from anywhere in the world having internet.
And you know what? SaaS builds Higher Revenue Over Time with almost no extra effort!
Things to take care of while building a SaaS product
There are a couple of things to be taken care while building a SaaS product:
- Start with an MVP.
Keeping It Small Reduces Project Failure and helps with Lower Up-Front Costs. Building a Prototype rather than a complete product gives you the freedom to test different concepts and get user feedback.
- Learn From Users and Improve the Software Over Time.
Take regular feedback from your target market and improve it step-by-step providing regular updates to the software over time.
- Adopt an Agile Approach to develop the product.
For bootstrapping your idea, implementing an Agile approach and Lean Startup Model reduces the risk.
Market Research & Target market
Market research is essential to your SaaS product’s long-term success, giving you insight into critical traits and characteristics of your target audience. It helps to know more about their thought process, purchase patterns, software competency, and much more. All this gives you a better picture of the types of product or services your customers need.
Market research can help you analyze different business opportunities & helps with understanding the ones with the highest revenue potential. This is also an effective way to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing so you can maintain a competitive lead. You will know what content your target customers will likely be reading and keep them engaged with social media, email, newsletter and blog content. All this knowledge, in turn, can lead to a positive impact on your sales revenue, marketing strategies and ROI.
1. Build a Target Market List:
Get responses from your target audience on the basis of Age, Location, Education, Lifestyle, Interests, Occupation, Computer competence, etc.
2. Ask the right questions
Some of the questions you can always consider are:
- How big a problem is this for you on a scale of 1–10?
- How excited do you feel about using your proposed solution on a scale of 1–10?
- How often do you use the product? (More than 10 times a day, once a day, once a week, once a month)
- Would you recommend to a friend? (Strongly recommend, Recommend, Neutral, Don’t recommend)
You will need more questions to get specific insights about your particular customer behaviour.
Every technology and programming language may not be suitable for your product. Choosing the right technology for your SaaS product is an important factor. Your choices will directly affect the cost and effort needed for app development, that directly affects the risk involved and product success.
Whatever you build, try to build it following scalable software architecture seeing the long-term product, so that you can upgrade the product step-by-step taking regular feedbacks without wasting any efforts.
Features and functionalities
What sets the product apart is its unique functions & features and how it solves your target customer’s problem. Stress on the core functionality, think how you could improve it and provide to your customer the easiest way to solve their problem. Even though your offering will have a set of features & offers that revolve around the product, the core should be the one problem that you are trying to solve.
Financials are the major thing to decide before building the product plan. There should be the pricing for the product and cost for development which should be included in the product plan. The main advantage of SaaS is its cost efficiency for serving any number of customers without high-end infrastructure cost.
Launching Prototype & Getting Feedback
Launching a prototype with minimal features is the best way to test your concept. Here, it can be introduced to the target customers you got in touch with during the Market Research and get feedback about potential features/ limitations of the concept. You don’t need to put all your design aspects and user experience into it, just the basic minimalistic features required to test the concept. This also helps in identifying weak & strong points and gives time for the improvements before the actual product launch.
This will definitely bring early adopters for the product and boost your confidence to launch the complete product.
Following these steps, you can test that idea in your mind without risking too much of your savings and efforts.