Jan 15th, 2021

Key Steps for Building a SaaS MVP

Author - Seth Narayanan
Key Steps for Building a SaaS MVP
Jan 15th, 2021

Key Steps for Building a SaaS MVP

MVP building is a strategy that many software giants have used to break into new business lines. Here is a guideline on the essential steps to building and marketing a SaaS MVP with examples.

A minimum viable product (MVP) provides sufficient customer value with minimal but core functionalities that early adopters can use. Subsequently, you can collect feedback to scale the product with more robust features that meet customer preferences.

MVP building helps you focus on your SaaS’s value proposition, build lean software that provides immediate value, deploy quicker, and test the viability of your product idea in the market without incurring substantial development costs.

Deploying an MVP into the market without a high upfront cost is crucial to a SaaS startup because 38% fail after running out of money. Having an MVP cuts future software development expenditure when it’s time to create the complete product, helping you launch faster than your competitors.

You’re more likely to attract investors to fund your product development as you integrate the feedback from early adopters.

But how do you start?

Key Steps in Building a SaaS MVP

Companies like Twitter, Dropbox, Zappos, and Amazon started with an MVP. To avoid being among the 20% of startups that fail within the first year or two, here are the fundamental steps for building your SaaS MVP:

Identify Your Customer Persona

Creating a solution without problem sets your SaaS up for failure. 42% of startups fail because there is no market need. So, before starting your MVP development, identify the customer persona.

Try answering these questions:

  • Who is the user, and what are their needs?
  • What devices do they use?
  • Are there problems significant enough for a product that they’ll pay for?

Collect as much information from people who fit into the customer persona.

Conduct Market Research and Understand Your Product’s UVP

One key step in MVP development should include conducting market research. Although you already know what problems you may want to solve, studying the market helps you gain in-depth insights into the user’s pains and needs. If the users have several pain points and needs, market research ensures you focus on the core problem, so you don’t spread yourself too thin.

In addition, part of market research is a thorough analysis of your competitors. Detect the problems people commonly face when interacting with similar services and the questions they ask. This will shape the product’s UVP (unique value proposition) because a critical competitor analysis identifies gaps that can give your software a competitive advantage.

Determine the MVP’s Core Functionalities

Too many features will complicate your MVP.

When you understand your end-users pain and the gaps in the market, it’s easy to discern what features to include in your SaaS MVP. You’ll also identify the low- priority features to add to the product roadmap.

Designing the User Journey

Mapping out your customer journey will help reduce customer churn. This is where you design the user flow with a wireframe that clearly shows how users will interact with your software.

Regardless of the value you offer, many users will leave if your product is too complicated or requires extensive instruction.

Choose a Business Model

Remember, you’ll need to generate the first revenue with your MVP. You can’t capitalize on any traction if you fail to find ways to make money and scale. Pricing strategy will vary on the product, but some of the popular ones for SaaS companies are:

  • Freemium
  • Flat rate
  • Tiered pricing
  • Pricing per user
  • Usage-based pricing
  • Variable pricing

More than half of SaaS companies use tiered pricing, but the freemium model is also popular.

Identify Your Team and Preferred Software Development Methodology

23% of businesses fail because their team isn’t good enough. It’s important to gather the right team that understands the product’s goal. If you don’t have a team that has the needed skillsets you will save a lot of time and expense by finding a software development company with proven experience building MVP’s. Beyond that, you should also identify your preferred project management framework that keeps all team members in the loop.

In addition, choosing the right technology stack is critical to MVP success. When determining the technology for your product, consider scalability, ease of change, and compliance with your product’s functionality. Consider Agile, Scrum, Kanban, and Lean methodologies and choose the most suitable for your project.

Build and Launch

After putting the above steps in place, it’s time to build and launch. The timeline for development and launching should be around three months. While it’s essential to prioritize core functionalities, an MVP is minimal, not incomplete.

Bugs shouldn’t be part of the feedback and should be fixed before it goes into the market. Ensure your product is user-friendly with a simple journey to achieving the user’s goals.

Analyze Feedback and Iterate

The work doesn’t end after launch. Beta testing helps you get feedback to learn what customers like and dislike. You’ll also learn if there’s enough demand to warrant a full-fledged product and whether your business model is ideal for scaling your product.

Remember that adding too many user-requested features too early will detract from the product’s overall goal and adversely affect the user experience. The only features you should integrate are those connected to your product’s goal.