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How to Create a SaaS MVP and Succeed

Codica
A team of web developers building custom marketplaces, SaaS and PWAs with Ruby on Rails, React, Vue.js. Our Github: https://github.com/codica2
Originally published at codica.com ・6 min read

The article was initially published on Codica blog.

Until the late 90th, we had to install various software on our PCs: for working with documents, messaging, or task management. Every new piece of software took up space on a hard drive. An update could take several hours or even a whole day since it needed tons of resources, our skills, and hard drive space.

Gladly, these days are in the past. It has become possible due to SaaS products and cloud computing boost. The recent forecasts state that the SaaS market will reach $623 billion by 2023.

We have researched the SaaS domain future and came up with a guide on how to start a cloud solution, and discussed why starting with an MVP is crucial.

SaaS market: overview and perspectives

A SaaS product is a cloud application that offers its services to all users via the Internet.
Instead of downloading an app, all users access it from a web browser on a desktop or from their smartphones.

Below are the main types of SaaS products with the key market shapers.

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  • Trello, Jira, Asana - productivity software;
  • SalesForce CRM, HubSpot CRM, SAP - customer relationship management software (CRM systems);
  • Joomla, WooCommerce - content management systems (CMS);
  • Shopify Plus, BigCommerce - eCommerce software.

SaaS market overview

While COVID-19 had a massive negative influence on many businesses, its influence on the SaaS domain was not so bad. Only 27% of the companies claim a negative impact, while 40% claim from little to no negative influence.

Here comes the three key SaaS facts by FinancesOnline to keep an eye on.

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Source: FinancesOnline

The future of SaaS: chaos or a solution for every need?

On the one hand, the Internet connection is getting faster and more reliable, and even more SaaS startups are expected to reach the market. The majority of the businesses say that after 2022 they will use SaaS to cover over 80% of their software needs. So, this market is growing really fast.

On the other hand, there are so many similar SaaS tools on the market now. Such a diversity confuses users and even causes a kind of SaaS chaos. It’s getting pretty hard to choose a cloud solution.

So, that’s next? There are many options here. For example, big SaaS names start to collaborate to help their end-users. For instance, Figma claimed the integrations with GitLab recently. Of course, these collaborations don't solve the problem of chaos in full but prove brands’ awareness and desire to support the users.

Bottom line: We are witnessing a real boost in the SaaS market now and it’s not going to slow down.

Minimum viable product for SaaS

What is a SaaS MVP about? It’s an early product version, ready to be put on the market. It has must-have features only and brings real value for its end-users.

Benefits of MVP for a SaaS startup

Even if you totally love your product idea, don’t hurry. SaaS startups tend to fail. Statistics state that over 90% of SaaS startups stop working during the first 5 years. So do some research, check the market, and probe your idea with the minimal valuable product first.

To help you in your MVP journey, we have collected the main advantages of MVP for SaaS startups.

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Tech stack for a cloud MVP

Try to make your solution scalable for developers, and secure, and performing for both with no bells and whistles. Some useful tips to follow:

  • Consider open-source tools;
  • Choose fast prototyping with Ruby on Rails;
  • Use free databases;
  • Benefit from available solutions, e.g., Ruby gems;
  • Don’t forget about load testing.

Guide: how to create a successful SaaS product

When we talk about MVP development, we usually follow the best practices. SaaS solutions are not an exception.

Competitive research. Know your market, your competitors, and where you can provide more value to users.

Customer's pains and needs. Listen to your end-users challenges, and they will help you out to create a product they need.

Features set
Choose only the required functionality for your MVP. Have a look at these popular principles to avoid unnecessary work:

  • Pareto Principle or 80% to 20% rule. This rule helps to concentrate on 20% of must-have functionality and avoid 80% of the functions not being used.

  • The MoSCoW method prioritizes the features from M - Must-have features to S - Should have and C - Could have, and finally to W - Won't have ones.

Choosing the Pricing Model
The pricing model in SaaS is a method to set the desired price for a solution. Among the top popular SaaS models are per-user pricing, tiered pricing, per-storage pricing, and pay as you go. All come with their Pros and Cons. We have created a top 8 SaaS Pricing Models: Ultimate Guide 2021 to assist you in picking the needed model.

Prototyping and MVP Development
Probe your idea with a working ‘draft’, a prototype. Once done, move to creating the ready-to-the-market MVP version.

Feedback gathering. Don’t waste your time with untested ideas. Always listen to your end-users and their feedback.

What influences the cost of SaaS MVP

There is no average cost for all SaaS solutions. The price always depends on many factors, including the project scope, tech stack, and the development team’s expertise. Let’s find out what influences the final cost in detail.

  • Tech stack

You can create an MVP using any popular framework. Our top three are Ruby on Rails (back-end), and React.js, or Vue.js (front-end). As for the Rails framework, it offers free open-source libraries, gems. There are over 167,000 gems now for different ready solutions. Using these solutions, you can speed up the development thus saving costs.

  • Number of features

Consider only the must-have features for your MVP solution with no extras. More does not mean better. It will cost you extra and won’t bring value to users so will be a waste of resources and time.

Team’s expertise in SaaS development

When you work with SaaS experts, you will benefit from the vast expertise of the developers who have delivered many cloud solutions.

This way, you can count on both an accurate estimate, expert advice, and quality app development on time and on budget.

  • Prices in different locations

When we are talking about the prices or hourly rates, the calculations will depend on the location and the level of the development team. Below we have collected recent web development rates for three popular locations.

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In order to estimate the final cost, you should consider all these factors. If you struggle to do it yourself or need advice, consider an experienced SaaS development team.

Final thoughts

With the world’s shift to remote work, the SaaS domain proved its numerous benefits for businesses. Even if you did not consider cloud products before, it’s high time to move in this direction. On the bright side, you can use some ready solutions, and start off with a product MVP.

Looking for a trusted SaaS development company? Consider the Codica team. If you start a new cloud-based app or need to manage an existing one, Codica team is here to share expertise in cloud solutions. We will help you solve all development pains, and assist your business to stand out from competitors.

For more information about building a SaaS MVP visit our blog and read the article: How to Build an MVP for a SaaS Startup: Practical Tips.

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