A minimum viable product (MVP) is a simplified version of your product that helps you test your SaaS idea and uncover how you can effectively target users. This development approach allows you to test product assumptions and gain insights into users’ reactions to your product’s core functionality.
Gain insights into market demand.
There are several initial considerations that you’ll want to take into account as you assess and understand your market. The first thing you should analyze is if there is a market pain that exists in the industry. Without a solution to a real problem, you’re just speculating that users would want and value your product. At Geekbears, we tend to see that entrepreneurs develop ideas for products that solve the problems they were facing in their previous job or their day-to-day life. In those cases, innovators know there’s a need for their SaaS MVP because they’ve also experienced that pain point.
Additionally, you can gain insights into your market by going through the process of “”benchmarking.”” This step involves looking at existing products and seeing if they speak to the problem you are trying to solve and assessing what they’re lacking. You may not want to reinvent the wheel when making such a substantial investment — doing competitive research can help save you time and money.
Most importantly, it’s incredibly useful if you have a comprehensive understanding of the industry. If you have a lot of experience in the industry your product serves, you’ll already have a much better understanding of what type of solution is feasible and viable than any outsider would have. Use your industry insights to your advantage when looking to develop a SaaS product.
Understand your target audience.
Sometimes we hear entrepreneurs say their target audience is everyone who has the problem the SaaS tool solves. While that’s technically true, companies that try to appeal to many users often wind up with a bloated product. It’s better to be niche — to address the needs of a few versus the many. By focusing on a certain audience, you’ll have a greater chance of solving the problem for a specific group of users and streamlining your SaaS MVP.
When selecting a target audience, it’s also important to consider your competition. In most cases, you’ll want to ensure that there isn’t an overlap between your product’s intended users and your competitors’ users. In being able to market to a unique target audience, you’ll reduce the competition your SaaS MVP faces.
Outline your short- and long-term goals.
The most critical short-term goal for your project should be validating your SaaS MVP. At Geekbears, we highly recommend that you produce a clickable prototype as soon as possible. This asset will help you gauge whether there is demand for the product or not. You can demo your product with potential users or use the clickable prototype to pitch your SaaS product to investors. In addition, you recommend having a short-term landing page or website to market and promote your app — no matter how far away it is from launching — to see if demand exists. You can encourage visitors to sign up for the beta release, or you can use site traffic as an indicator of interest.
As long as it’s clear that the traction is there, then your long-term goals will focus on developing and launching the app. After you’ve released your SaaS MVP, your goal should be to continue learning from the users and iterating or pivoting according to what you’ve learned from your target audience.
Map out the user journey.
User journey maps help UX designers visualize a user’s interactions with a product. A clickable prototype won’t just offer you insights into demand, but it also will allow your team to see your product from a user’s point of view. By developing this quick and cost-effective testing tool, you’ll be able to understand how users move through your product without having to make the significant investment of developing a workable product. Once you’ve created a clickable prototype, we recommend sending out surveys to get it in the hands of potential users and to begin collecting their feedback.
Define the scope of your MVP.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of features that you’d like to include in your SaaS MVP — especially when you’re focused on developing a comprehensive product in the future. If you’re not careful, you could wind up building an MVP that looks and feels more like a complete product when it isn’t necessary at the onset. While that is the eventual goal, launching an initial, simple version of your product will allow you to collect valuable user feedback and further validate your product’s need in the market.
The process of selecting the features to include in your SaaS MVP involves multiple steps, but the first is defining its scope. At Geekbears, we refer to this as “feature prioritization.” During this step, we first make a list of all the user stories and features, and then we rank them by their priority. Conducting this exercise of only focusing on the high priority features will help you define your MVP’s scope and ensure you launch with a streamlined initial product.
Perform user testing.
User testing is essential, as it will help you build a product that performs as users expect it to work and function. Define the testing plan for your SaaS MVP to ensure that you feel confident the application you’re developing is viable and needed by the market.
1. Use a clickable prototype to facilitate user testing.
This is one of the best ways to get instant and insightful feedback in the early stages. At Geekbears, we generally recommend that clients do this to allow users to interact with a tool that feels more like a real product. Once a clickable prototype has been developed, it can be sent out to potential users with a survey.
2. Allow certain users access through a beta release.
For mobile apps, some tools allow you to launch an application to a specified group of users. TestFlight can be used with iOS apps, and a closed/internal release mode can be leveraged with Android apps. Beta releases allow companies to gather insights and valuable feedback prior to launching a SaaS MVP publicly.
3. Gain insights from analytics tools.
You can also understand the traffic patterns, user flow and traction that your app is produces with several analytics tools. Mixpanel and Google Analytics commonly used tools that help monitor the activity and adoption of a SaaS MVP. These tools can be used at a variety of stages, such as during initial testing or after launching the first version of your application, which allows you to continue iterating your product based on real-time insights from user data.
The strategy of building an MVP requires that you take an iterative process. This approach ensures that you can identify user pain points and develop the right product functionality to account for those needs, shifting your product and its features over time to address new insights and feedback. The MVP process allows you to build, measure and learn as you continually improve your product and test new assumptions. Gradually understanding what users want is a crucial step in launching a SaaS product that better serves your customers with each iteration, ensuring that you successfully launch your SaaS product.
At Geekbears, we’re passionate about designing, developing and launching modern SaaS and marketplace applications. Having previously launched these products ourselves, our software development agency can help you grow your businesses with an elevated MVP.