When building your SaaS business, development costs can be one of the most significant expenses, ranging from $15,000 to $100,000. The reasons for such a wide span are factors such as project size and complexity, whether you outsource SaaS development or choose to build your SaaS in-house, and many other considerations.
Most software development companies end up somewhere in the middle with development costs. However, what if you have a limited budget and need to minimize your development costs without compromising code quality? Here are five tips you should follow.
1. Prioritize better
The sooner your SaaS starts generating revenue, the less your budget will be a limiting factor in all areas of your business — from the product itself to marketing and operations.
With a better prioritization of features and launching a minimum viable product (MVP), you will be able to monetize your new business faster.
Building a SaaS on a shoestring budget isn’t about choosing the cheapest provider to deliver a good enough product. Quite the opposite — you can work with the best developers while still allocating a small development budget.
The development cost of your app depends on the number of features you want to include in your product. The more features your development team has to build, and the more complex they are in execution, the more you will pay.
That is why to reduce development expenses, you should focus on the core product features that are sufficient for your clients to experience the value of your product.
2. Choose the right team
If you just started developing a SaaS, you should consider two options — outsourcing development vs. keeping it in-house. Building a team of developers may seem to be a cheaper option and more sustainable in the long term. However, it might be the wrong choice for a startup company building a tool from scratch and needs to ship it to market quickly.
When comparing costs of outsourcing development and hiring an in-house team, don’t look merely at an hourly fee. Keep in mind that it can take a lot of time to assemble your dev team, train developers, and build your product. Also, you must account for the cost of renting office space, tools and equipment, public contributions, recruitment, and paid benefits. For example, in Germany, one would have to cover 30 days of paid leave annually.
If you want to monetize your product faster, choosing more experienced outsourced developers can be a better option as they will ship your product more quickly.
3. Choose the right tech stack
When comparing different tech stacks, keep in mind that choosing the most advanced and the least popular one will mean spending more time finding the developers who can handle it. This also means paying a higher price for their skills. It is just a rule of demand and supply!
To monetize your app as fast as possible, you should consider choosing a tech stack that helps speed up development. For example, Ruby on Rails enables reusing components between frontend and backend with just minor changes. This helps cut time on building similar features from scratch.
Building a tool from scratch requires a long-term vision. Planning to expand your product features, you should ensure your product is scalable. Choosing a tech stack that allows for higher scalability is crucial in such a case. It will help save money on future changes to your software or help avoid rebuilding your product.
Bugs are another issue your tech stack should be able to deal with effectively. Bugs are one of the major causes of fixes that consume developers’ time and budget. To prevent bugs, you should look for a tech stack that encourages test-driven development (TDD).
4. Get client feedback
Launching a new product product rarely leads to immediate positive results. Your SaaS has to be tested first.
Get feedback from your first users early on in the process. Ask for feedback in-app or via Google forms. Also, you can invite your users for an interview in exchange for prolonging their free trial.
Here are some questions you can ask your users to collect feedback.
1) What problem are they trying to solve with your product?
2) What products have they tried in the past?
3) How are they using your product?
4) How well is it doing the job for them?
Product development doesn’t stop there, as your product will have to undergo a couple of iteration rounds. Collecting feedback from clients over time after achieving product-market fit is an excellent practice.
5. Collect reviews before scaling lead generation
After validating your product with your target market, it’s time to create a bullet-proof marketing plan and scale your lead generation.
Before launching paid campaigns, work on your company’s social media channel by collecting testimonials from your first-time customers.
Here are two core questions you may want to ask them when sending a request to review your SaaS tool.
- What problems has this product helped you solve?
- How would you feel if you suddenly could not use this product anymore?
To make the review collection easier, consider using online review platforms, such as Trustpilot or Capterra. Using these services can also have a positive impact on your SEO.
Building a SaaS product on a shoestring budget can be a challenging task. You should ship your product to the market as fast as possible to get feedback from customers.
If you also have a short timeframe to complete the task, outsourcing is quicker than building an in-house tech team. Apart from choosing the developers you want to work with, you should select the tech stack to quickly scale your app in the future.
Once you launch your product, collecting customer feedback and documenting it is vital to building a product that evolves with the needs of your users. When you feel your SaaS has achieved market validation, it’s time to scale your marketing efforts, so you can optimize your product sales to their fullest potential.