Building a Software-as-a-Service ( SaaS ) platform can be a satisfying experience. When it works out, you could earn a recurring income without much effort. Of course, you first need to create something that appeals to a broad market.
No magic pill will make your SaaS an overnight success, but if you follow proven steps, you will make significant progress. The goal here is to focus on what is most likely to work. Here are top ten tips to get you started.
Give yourself enough time
Many founders and developers make the mistake of not estimating the time right. They focus on finishing the web app and forget that they’ll have to market it. So they often schedule the launch right after coding is done. No wonder why so many platforms fail!
You’ll also need time for BETA testing. You want to be able to implement the feedback you get from your testers. To get the best, allow potential customers to use the app for a while. Once you’re sure everything works right, put your energy into launching your SaaS.
Be clear on the benefits of each feature
Before you start coding new functionality, make sure you’re clear on how it benefits the end user. Does it save time? Does simplify a process? If the feature is just “cool to have,” then perhaps you should give it a pass.
For your SaaS to be commercially viable, it needs to be as simple as possible. Today’s users are sophisticated and don’t like being overwhelmed, so you should only create features that improve their workflow.
Start with an MVP
Creating the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is the best way to ensure your SaaS succeeds. It will help you save time and money. You’ll be able to test out if the product is attractive to the market. If not, you can use the feedback and make the necessary changes.
On the other hand, building a full-blown platform can be a waste of resources. It’s likely that many parts will be redundant. An MVP ensures that you only develop what’s needed. You can then grow your SaaS as you learn what your market needs and wants.
Build Your Front-End First
Starting with the front-end has several advantages. You will be confident that people will find your SaaS easy to use. You will also know how the functionality fits together. As a result, you’ll create a user-experience that will make your SaaS stick.
Another advantage is that you’ll be able to start getting early feedback, which will help you gain insights even before you launch your app. You’ll be surprised to see how many costly mistakes you can avoid. Plus, you’ll probably get suggestions that will make your SaaS more appealing to users.
Simplify your front-end
Once you’ve got the first version of the front-end, simplify it. Think of how you can make the workflow even faster. Remove anything that could distract the user. Most importantly, make it as easy to use as possible. Try to get to a point where new users can be up and running within minutes of signing up.
Take a break
After you’ve built a working version and gathered some feedback, take a break. Allow your brain to sieve through the ideas. That is essential because the intensity of building a SaaS platform makes it easy to get overwhelmed and lost.
Your team may also need to revise their current strategies. For instance, they may foresee problems with your code’s architecture. Taking time out to address these issues will help ensure the success of your SaaS and maybe even come up with a more straightforward, more attractive idea.
Build a mailing list
If you want to succeed, you need to get the attention of the marketplace. Once you’re sure you’re on the right track, start building a mailing list of potential users. Doing this might help get paying customers as soon as your launch.
You can also use the list as a source of ideas. By connecting with people, you will get insights on what they’re willing to pay for, and as you apply what you learn, you’ll gain confidence that your SaaS can grow into a stable business.
Be clear on the problems you’re solving
People pay for solutions to their problems, so you need to know which issues your SaaS is addressing. Having clarity will help in two ways.
First of all, you will know what features to build. You’ll just focus on what’s needed to fix the issue your market is facing. Secondly, you’ll know how to sell your SaaS. You’ll be able to show how it helps people. As a result, your market will see the value your web app brings into their lives. Don’t skip this step. That could be the difference between success and failure.
Define your ideal user
Many SaaS founders miss the mark when they want to promote their SaaS but don’t know who would go for it. That’s when you hear about people searching for “product-market fit.” The best way is to know who will use your SaaS before you build it.
Think about it this way. Which group of people has a problem you can solve? Will you find it easy to reach them after you’ve built your platform? If you cannot answer these questions, you will likely struggle with your marketing. Identify at least part of your potential market first.
Many founders are guilty of giving up at the last minute. They build an excellent platform, but then they get scared to launch it. Don’t let that be you. You can’t win if you don’t play the game.
These are the top ten tips for you to build a commercially viable SaaS platform. They’re a simple but not easy to put in place. To ensure that you get the best results, read them through again. Write down all ideas and action steps that jump out at you. Then, roll up your sleeves and get to work.