In the crowded Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market, your ability to develop differentiated solutions will be vital to staying competitive in the global marketplace. While any tech startup can develop functional software, how effectively it meets the market’s demands will determine its ultimate impact on its end users. Here are two things to consider when dreaming up “the next big thing.”
Establish a Clear Point of View on the Problem You Intend to Solve and Who You Intend to Serve
Before writing your first line of code, you must understand the problem your product solves for your target market. Ideally, it should solve the problem in a way not already previously attempted. Think Uber solving the problem of hailing a ride in a busy market or Airbnb solving the problem of the high cost of hotel rentals. In short, what changes will your product attempt to influence? And how will you change your customer’s thinking from ‘the way it is today to the ‘way it will be’ tomorrow?
Establishing this will help shape your company and product vision, serving as your north star to guide all future decisions. Just as important, it will help you to form consistent, clear, and differentiated ‘Points of View’ through the lens in which you view your industry.
In a rush to create target personas, many organizations fail to clearly articulate who their product is not for. You cannot be all things to all customers; serving everyone ultimately serves no one. You’ll be left with a watered-down, mediocre product. Instead, understand your super consumers and the niches in which they operate. Make them unbelievably happy. You’ll be shocked how often they will sing your praises.
Great User Experiences Drive Fanatical User Adoption
User. Experience. Is. Everything. Don’t believe me? Compare the user experience for most people between the IRS or DMV and Disney. One is terrible, the other delightful. The difference? One organization measures everything they do around positive customer experiences. The other, well, you know.
Customer/User experience must be a core component of product design and should focus on a few key tenants:
- Usability – There is no excuse for a complicated user interface. Understand how your customers will interface with your product and optimize workflows using intelligent default settings.
- Product Quality – Today’s users, are quick to churn. Your product must work not only as intended but also as expected by your users.
- Delivery Method – Users expect seamless experiences, particularly around uptime, updates, and storage/backup. Leverage best-in-class cloud hosting platforms to handle these areas.
- Integration – The more extensive the ecosystem you can create by integrating complementary tools, the greater your product’s value will be in the minds of your customers.
Bringing a new, competitive product to market is challenging. There are many moving parts, some outside your control, and you’ll probably need some luck along the way. But if you can establish clarity around the problem you are solving, who you are serving, and pair that with an extraordinary user experience, you’ll be on your way to a leadership position in the market with a product your customers cannot imagine living without.