Software as a Service (SaaS) has become a popular term among software developers. However, many developers don’t completely understand SaaS right away, as it’s quite different from creating client projects and websites.
SaaS can be difficult and complicated, so before you start developing your first SaaS solution, there are several things you should learn.
In this article, we’ll dive into SaaS Product Development and the 8 things you need to know first before you jump in.
1. Ship Quickly with Continuous Delivery
One of the secrets to quick shipment is continuous delivery. Break projects into the smallest shippable units and send those to production as soon as you can. This approach has many advantages, such as easier code alterations and maintaining momentum.
For example, a SaaS developer creating a project management application could break down the features into small units such as user authentication, task creation, and file sharing.
Each unit can be tested and shipped to production quickly, allowing for faster feedback from users and easier bug fixes. This also allows developers to maintain momentum and stay motivated as they see progress being made with each small unit shipped.
2. Carefully Consider Your Data Model
When developing a SaaS application, carefully consider users, team members, organizations, accounts, and charging models. Making the right decision now can save a lot of time later. Data models in SaaS must be far more flexible and adaptable than in traditional software development.
For instance, a SaaS developer building a CRM system should consider how to structure the data model to allow for multiple users, teams, and organizations to access and update customer information.
They should also think about how the system will handle different charging models, such as per user or per organization. A well-designed data model can make it easier to scale the application in the future and avoid costly redesigns down the line.
3. Don’t Neglect to Onboard
It’s essential to consider the user’s journey at every stage of the application architecture process, starting from the first flow diagram. Make sure users are educated and reach the point where they feel empowered by your product as quickly as possible.
Because we all know users love spending hours trying to figure out how to use a new application. Neglecting to onboard is like forgetting the keys to your car – you’re not going anywhere fast.
4. Listen to The Right Sources
When seeking advice, ensure that the person giving it has experience creating functional software from scratch that customers have paid for. Choose someone who has accomplished what you want to do at least once if not multiple times.
This will help you avoid taking advice from those who may not have the necessary expertise or experience to guide you in the right direction.
Additionally, it’s important to consider the source of feedback from users. While it’s important to listen to feedback, not all feedback is created equal. Look for patterns and trends in user feedback and prioritize changes that will have the greatest impact on improving the user experience.
By listening to the right sources, you can ensure that your application is designed with the user’s and the business’s goals in mind.
5. Choose a Boring Tech Stack
Stick with tried-and-true technologies and web frameworks to launch your SaaS. This will allow you to focus on what’s most crucial, which is providing value to your clients. Avoid using novel technologies that may slow down development or become obsolete.
Using a boring tech stack may not sound exciting, but it can save you time and money in the long run. By choosing a tech stack that is well-established and widely used, you can benefit from a large community of developers who have already worked out many of the kinks and bugs.
This means you can focus on delivering a great product to your customers rather than troubleshooting technical issues.
Additionally, using a boring tech stack can help you avoid the risk of investing in a technology that may not have staying power.
While it may be tempting to try out the latest and greatest, it’s important to remember that flashy technology can quickly become outdated, and investing in it can be a costly mistake.
A boring but reliable tech stack can provide stability and longevity for your business.
6. Understand Basic Definitions
It’s crucial to understand fundamental definitions in the SaaS world. Learning acronyms like MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue), ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue), MVP (Minimum Viable Product), and others can save a ton of time and confusion.
Additionally, understanding key terms like churn rate, customer acquisition cost, and lifetime value can help you make informed decisions about your business strategy. It’s important to stay up-to-date with industry jargon and trends to effectively communicate with investors, customers, and other stakeholders.
By mastering basic definitions, you can streamline communication and avoid misunderstandings that can cost time and money. So, take the time to educate yourself on the language of SaaS and stay ahead of the game.
7. Don’t Skip the Tests
Writing tests to ensure the fundamental functionality of your application is rock solid is essential. Focus on functional or system tests that test your complete stack. While it’s not necessary to test every nuance of your code base, avoiding tests altogether can lead to technical debt and recurring defects.
Furthermore, automated testing can save time and improve overall quality by catching bugs early in the development process. It’s also important to regularly run load and performance tests to ensure your application can handle the expected traffic and usage.
Don’t overlook the importance of testing in your SaaS development process, as it can ultimately lead to a better product and happier customers.
8. Learn Marketing and Customer Communication
Many developers prioritize features and the product, but marketing and customer interaction are more crucial.
Talk to potential consumers and learn the importance of marketing in creating a successful business.
Remember that a great product alone won’t guarantee success; it needs to be backed by effective marketing and customer engagement strategies.
Understanding your target audience and their needs is essential to creating effective marketing campaigns. Utilize social media, email marketing, and other channels to communicate with your customers and gather feedback.
Analyze data and metrics to track the success of your marketing efforts and make necessary adjustments. By prioritizing marketing and customer communication, you can build a loyal customer base and drive growth for your SaaS business.
How Long Does It Take to Build a SaaS Product?
The time it takes to build a SaaS product can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the product, the experience of the development team, and the availability of resources.
The time it takes to build a SaaS product depends on several factors such as the complexity of the product, the size of the team, and the development methodology used.
In my experience, it could take anywhere from 2 months to 10 months, and possibly longer, but for most SaaS MVPs, it shouldn’t take longer than 6 months. On average, designers develop MVPs in three months.
Here is a typical breakdown of the time required for each stage of developing a SaaS product ¹:
- Validation and planning (40 – 250 hours)
- Creating MVP or POC (300 hours or more)
- UI/UX design (120 – 250 hours)
- Front-end development (400 – 600 hours)
- Back-end development (up to 800 hours) could be reduced by BaaS
- Project management and post-release maintenance
Factors that Can Affect the Timeline for Building a SaaS Product:
- Complexity of the product: The more complex the product, the longer it will take to develop. For example, a product with a complex user interface or a large database will take longer to build than a simpler product.
- Experience of the development team: A team with more experience in SaaS development will be able to build a product faster than a team with less experience.
- Availability of resources: The availability of resources, such as developers, testers, and designers, can also affect the timeline for building a SaaS product. A team with more resources will be able to build a product faster than a team with fewer resources.
Tips for building a SaaS product quickly:
- Start with a clear vision for the product: It is important to have a clear vision for the product before you start development. This will help you to stay focused and avoid scope creep.
- Hire a team with experience in SaaS development: Hiring a team with experience in SaaS development will save you time and money in the long run.
- Use a cloud-based development platform: A cloud-based development platform can help you to quickly and easily deploy your product to the cloud.
- Get feedback from early users: Getting feedback from early users can help you to identify and fix problems with your product early on.
How to Create SaaS without Coding?
Yes, it is possible to create a SaaS product without coding. There are many no-code development platforms that can help you build a SaaS product without coding. Some of these platforms include:
- WebFlow: This is a visual way to build informational and e-commerce websites. It has an adaptable customer management system.
- AirTable: This no-code platform builds collaborative online apps.
- Bubble: Bubble no code is a visual programming tool that assists you to build web applications without coding.
- Unicorn Platform
- Zoho Creator
These platforms offer pre-built regulatory features to quickly build a SaaS product while complying with the laws. You can successfully implement a SaaS product through many web applications that write the necessary codes. However, you will need a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to implement your start-up.
You can check out our top no-code platforms in this blog post: No Code SaaS Development Tool
How Much SaaS Product Development Cost?
The cost of creating a SaaS product can vary depending on the complexity of the project and the type of SaaS solution. According to various sources, building an MVP of a non-complex SaaS app can cost between $25,000 to $80,000.
The cost of building the UX for a SaaS product can range from $16,000 to $56,0002. Other costs associated with starting a SaaS business include product design and development costs, and the cost of developing the first version of your product can range from $20,000 to $200,0004.
Building the server side of a SaaS app can take up to 800 hours and cost between $25 to $60 per hour depending on the vendor.
|MVP of Non-complex SaaS App||$25,000 – $80,000|
|UX Design for SaaS Product||$16,000 – $56,000|
|Product Design and Development||$20,000 – $200,000|
|Server-side Development||800 hours; $25 – $60 per hour (depending on the vendor)|
In conclusion, understanding these eight essential aspects of SaaS development can help you create a successful and sustainable product. By focusing on continuous delivery, data models, onboarding, choosing the right tech stack, and understanding SaaS terminology, testing, and marketing, you’ll be better prepared to navigate the world of SaaS development and create a product that meets the needs of your customers.