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If you’re looking to build a software-as-a-service application, you might not know where to start. The advice is always the same: “You need funding, great developers, and a solid marketing plan before you can even think about launching your product.” That might be true for some businesses, but that's not the case for everyone. Here are four things to consider before you can build your own SaaS app.
1. Building an idea into an MVP
If you’re thinking of offering a SaaS, you need to be thinking about how you’re going to turn your idea into a minimal viable product. One of the things you need to do in order to turn a great idea into a viable business plan is to define your target market—who your customers will be and who will be your ideal client. From there, you need to determine if you have the skills and the know-how to deliver value to these people. It’s a long process that requires vision, resourcefulness, and most importantly, your ability to differentiate your product from the competition.
By coming up with a clear set of goals, KPIs, and services, you’re able to narrow your focus and consider your options in the most efficient way possible. This allows you to develop features and create more optimized solutions for a specific problem you’re trying to solve for your target market. The key is to adopt as much agile development as you can to give your product the best chance of success, all while creating value for your target audience.
SaaS isn’t new tech — a good SaaS app is usually fairly simple software that makes your customers’ lives easier.
2. Finding the right developers for your SaaS application
Finding the right developers for your SaaS application can be a bit of a challenge. You want to make sure you pick someone who has the skills to build what you want and the personality to work with you. You need to vet them through several rounds of conversation before making offers. From start to finish, the whole development process can be costly, especially if your business isn’t defensible. One of the best ways to step back and take stock of your investments is to assign a contract to a project manager.
Contracting is a great way to see exactly where you’re spending money and compare it to results. You can now see exactly where you’re spending the most and where you’re spending the least. The best part is that this assignment is completely optional, but it’ll save you a ton of time and money down the road. You can get flexible with your contract and potentially give some consideration to just how influential someone is expected to be.
3. Hiring the right employees
To hire the right employees for your business, it’s important to know what you need. If you’re hiring for a sales role, for example, you’ll want to make sure that you’re hiring someone who can work on their own and has a proven sales track record.
4. Creating a marketing strategy to make your business grow
First, you need to figure out if there is competition in your niche. Second, you need to determine if your current marketing strategy can be leveraged to gain customers or at least build a follow-up interest. If the way you’re approaching your marketing isn’t helping accomplish either of these goals, there’s a pretty good chance that no matter how good your product is, your marketing isn’t providing enough of an incentive for people to upgrade (or maintain) their subscription.
But if you want your company to grow and expand, building an online community around it is a tremendous asset for keeping people interested and coming back. Tools such as Wordpress, Lovedayzer, Gravity, and Olympus can let you build your very own community with templates and themes to help inspire and organize your users. You can focus on things like releasing updates and product feedback to the community, but you can also start putting together a strategy to integrate viral marketing into your product. This can be as straightforward or as intricate as you want it to be.
Starting your own SaaS business can be risky. Its purpose is to generate predictable revenue from customers who use your product or service. The upside of taking this approach is that you can run your business however you see fit. You could hire the best developers, find and sign top-of-market customers, or focus on growing your network of early adopters and superusers.
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