It may not really matter that most people think the internet and cloud mean the same thing, and they probably do for all practical purposes. Both matter to you for the potential they offer to compete in a global market. Estimates for Software as a Service (SaaS) products exceed $60 billion. Steps to succeeding in a lucrative field depend on choosing techniques that work.
1. Preparing to Enter a Highly Competitive Marketplace
The stiff competition in a global market introduces a unique concept that helps attract attention to SaaS startups. When you face industry giants like Microsoft, you need to conserve resources and focus your energy on creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
When you have an idea for a solution to a problem, the foundation for an MVP starts to take shape. However, the temptation to develop a full-blown solution can detract from the more important goal of defining the problem you want to solve.
A sharp focus on designing cloud software that solves a specific problem can produce more results than creating a solution for everything. Look at the problem from every angle that you can imagine and figure out how to treat each issue. When you have a precise target in mind, you increase your chances of hitting the bullseye.
2. Aiming to Satisfy Customer Preferences
After narrowing your definition of the problem you hope to solve, try to imagine a user who needs your MVP. An obstacle that makes them take longer and work harder to solve presents the most pressing concern to them.
Research on your idea can help inform you of the potential need in the market. However, consumer preferences can change without data reflecting them. Personal contact with users who know what they want but not how to get it can keep you on track to develop a tool they need.
Social media feedback from a few people who fit the profile of your potential user can guide you. Ask what they think about your idea and what help it may provide. Expect them to focus on their problems more than on your concept. Their feedback can sharpen your focus on the issue you hope to address with your MVP.
3. Taking the Shortest Path Between Two Points
A geometric rule about a straight line creating the shortest distance may apply to your MVP development. Simplicity as a goal can keep you within the guardrails and away from writing a complex application. As a concise version of your SaaS product, it lets you meet the specific needs of a unique group of users.
You may want to do the coding yourself or use any of the no-code tools, but keeping things simple lets you stay on task. Then, with the input from your target users on social media, you can begin to build the foundation of your eventual MVP. Your first shot at creating an MVP may consist of a simple layout that describes what it does.
When you reduce the concept of your SaaS product into its simplest form, you envision an MVP. However, it must withstand the test of satisfying the demands of your social media respondents as it proves the viability of your solution.
4. Remembering the Mousetrap Idea
The concept that the world builds a path to a better product still seems to have validity in the marketplace. Successful products have always come from great ideas. However, the difference between getting famous or remaining forgotten may depend on perfecting an original concept.
Facebook had a predecessor, Netflix improved the delivery of entertainment and Amazon took online purchasing to new heights. While you may create a completely original idea, the chances of that seem rare. Watch your competition to learn how well the public accepts an app that resembles your MVP. If it goes well, then you can use your expertise to make yours better.
5. Tailoring Your SaaS MVP Design
The temptation to load your MVP with nice-to-have features can derail your project before it gets started. An actual test of your determination to keep things simple occurs when you can reject anything your social media contacts did not request.
After you eliminate everything except the must-have features, require each one to provide one or two essential functions or get rid of it. Secondary functions prevent customers from realizing the value of the primary ones.
Allowing a feature to remain in your MVP requires it to pass a rigorous examination. For example, did your target users request it? Did it appear in your original product design? Does it have the potential to earn money? If a feature can pass none of these requirements, you must forget it and move along for now.
6. Keeping Everyone Informed and Up-to-Date
Your stakeholders deserve to know about the progress of your MVP, and you can share it efficiently with agile project management methods. When you winnow the potential features to the ones you plan to implement, the need to outline your plan for development and marketing becomes essential.
An outline based on progress instead of time seems to work the best in a fast-paced business environment. Phases can include to-do projects, ongoing progress and completed tasks. Again, the simplest approach lets you inform stakeholders without providing unnecessary details. A major SaaS product may not work well with the agile management tools, but they fit MVPs precisely.
7. Choosing Expediency Over Efficiency
The freedom to avoid some traditional guidelines in product development plays to your advantage when you build an MVP. Of course, you know that you must use efficient practices when you build a finished SaaS product. However, an MVP gives you a chance to try something that may or may not work.
When you think of it as an investment that may not pay off, you can focus on making it solve an issue with minimal effort. For a less demanding approach, consider opting for a short development cycle interspersed with brief sprints.
Consider outsourcing the coding tasks or use open-source codes. Try to build a simple interface without aesthetics to get the job done and count on the user experience to remain as positive as ever.
8. Working the Plan
After outlining the plan for progress and assessing the technical demands, you can start building your SaaS MVP. The development stage resembles the process you use for final product development in which you try numerous attempts to get it right.
Constant contact with your target user base on social media lets you refine your MVP by testing what you built and incorporating what you learned into the next iteration. Feedback at this point becomes the essential component of your project. As you try to produce a product that customers want to use, your translation of user insights and preferences makes it the Minimum Viable Product you intended.
An advantage of streamlining the development process lets you launch your MVP without full functionality. If you find that it does not seem the same as your original idea, it may mean that you have created something that customers want to use.
9. Setting a Price
Among the challenges you face in creating an MVP within the guidelines you impose, you must decide how to convert it into a money-making activity. The feedback from your social media target user group can continue to provide valuable input for pricing options.
You can try different monetization strategies to figure out which one works the best. Within your respondent group, you hope to find some people who do not use a product similar to your MVP. Input from others who use a competitor’s product can provide balance in your decision-making.
Comparing your pricing model with similar products on the market can determine whether you set it too high or too low. As you experiment with pricing, the MVP approach lets you make changes on the fly.
10. Ending Development and Launching a Product
Your efforts to conceive an idea, pinpoint its core feature, do the developmental work and price it correctly prepare it for public use. Unrealistic expectations of widespread acceptance can lead to disappointment and attempts to rework the project. However, a purchase by even a few people can prove the validity of your idea.
Instead of assuming that your product does not have appeal, look for other contributing factors. For example, maybe the product announcement did not reach a wide enough audience. You can continue to reach out to your social media target group for critiques or request support from industry opinion leaders.
Until you get convincing evidence that your MVP has insufficient sales appeal, you may choose to promote it on podcasts, social media or technology-friendly platforms like News360, Digg, Hubski, Ripple.io or Quora. Before you go back to the drawing board, focus on innovative marketing efforts. Someone out there may think your MVP gives them precisely what they want if they only know about it.
Developing an MVP for User Satisfaction and Profit
As a miniature version of your full-fledged product, your Software as a Service MVP gives you a snapshot of its potential in the marketplace. Input from your social media target group members may have more to do with achieving a successful launch than anything else. When you understand what potential users need, your MVP can provide it