How to Bootstrap Your SaaS Startup
3 min read
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Every project starts with an idea, and every idea eventually converts into a plan which, if executed properly, leads to successful project implementation. In a software product development, an idea constitutes just a minor part and the success of your product launch is allocated to other no less important things such as a well-executed business plan, properly conducted market research, meticulously selected development team, and the budget available to launch the product. In the article below we will have a closer look at what exactly constitutes a successful SaaS product launch.
- Analyze your idea
- Create a lean business plan
- Determine your strategy
- Define how you will market your SaaS product
- Select the right development team
Analyze your idea
When you are in the early stages of developing your future SaaS product the first question you must ask yourself is “What is the problem I need to solve and how will my product solve it?” Think of any problems you can address by creating a product that can solve it, or study the current software products offered on the market, see what solutions they offer, and think how you can make your product better. If there is a problem you have experienced yourself and you know there are other people who experienced it too - that’s even better. The research to conduct will be minor and you can jump straight away into creating a solution to this problem. Remember, if your product doesn’t solve a problem, it is useless. As Russell L. Ackoff noted, “We fail more often because we solve the wrong problem than because we get the wrong solution to the right problem.”
Create a lean business plan
As outdated as it may sound, business plans are necessary, and they do work. No need to go nuts and create a 50 pages business plan. A simple one-page outline of your strategy will do. You can always go back to it if you need to make adjustments and it will be much easier to change a simple plan rather than changing an already thought-through business plan. You can create a bullet-point plan or break it down in a table format, or you can use a business planning software like Enloop to help you with building your lean business plan.
Determine your strategy
This is where you define your unique value proposition (UVP). Your UVP is what separates your business from your competitors. It also explains how your product solves your customers’ problem, what benefits it brings, and why your target customers should choose you over the competition. This is also where you define your target market and analyze your competition.
Define how you will market your SaaS product
Marketing something that has no physical presence, like a SaaS product, has its own set of rules. It takes a person a couple of days or even hours to consider and purchase a SaaS product (be it a project management tool or a CRM software subscription). So the efforts needed to market a SaaS product are quite manageable compared to marketing a new car make. Tactics to consider first and foremost:
- Offer a free trial of your product
- Share data-driven content (case studies, statistics)
- Demonstrate your social proof by posting reviews and testimonials about your product
- Offer attractive deals
- Reward customers for referrals
- Employ content marketing and SEO to attract more customers
Select the right development team
While the SaaS product development steps discussed above involve a lot of thinking and analyzes, the design and development of the actual product or at least its prototype is the task that requires the application of hand and brain labor. It is not necessary for you as the CEO of your business to also be a CTO of your product. Outsourcing the technical part of the product development is what most SaaS startups would resort to these days, and so can you. The question then is “Where to get a good development team to bring my idea into life?”
A typical development team usually consists of a project manager, business analyst, front-end and back-end developers, UX/UI designer, and a QA engineer. The benefits of hiring a dedicated development team over an in-house team are huge:
- Hiring a dedicated development team can be scaled according to your needs and requirements. Depending on the task, you can select the number of experts and their seniority levels.
- An outsourced development team usually has extensive experience working with complicated projects. They are focused solely on your project and are set on reaching your goals with no distractions.
- When hiring a dedicated development team you don't need to worry about adding extra workspace in your office. All the recruitment and administration hassle is diminished too. This is much simpler and cheaper than hiring an in-house specialist.
- You can assume direct control over the management of your dedicated development team within the project they work on.
- When you are hiring a team you are hiring an already solid group of people who have previously worked on other projects together, so you are eliminating the need for team building.
Yes, it may cost you a penny to hire a remote dedicated development team, but again, this is something you shouldn’t try to save on as this is where your future product is born. Be sure that the benefits you will receive from hiring a dedicated development team will surely pay off in the long run. You may consider hiring a remote development team even more in the times of COVID. Companies look to hire experienced and affordable experts remotely, and they find them … in Ukraine. For the last decade, this European country has grown into a true tech hub for many US companies, for reasons such as an abundance of skillful software developers, affordable pay rates, and convenient time zone. Many software development companies in Ukraine develop and sell their own software products as well as outsource their development teams to help other startups grow. A decent example of such a company is Mailcheck - a team of dedicated software developers who aside from building their own successful email validation platform, specializes in developing products for iGaming and eCommerce industries. Mailcheck offers a team of experienced developers, project managers, business analysts, and designers that have a decent portfolio of successfully launched products. If you have an idea for a software product and looking for an experienced development team to do all the hands-on work shoot them an email at [email protected]
As you can see, developing a SaaS startup has its own specifics and rules which, if followed correctly, will guarantee a successful product launch and its further operation. If you are currently working on developing a software product we hope that this article will serve you as a guide.