So, this is what I have realized in the last couple of months. I don’t know if it’s true for everyone who have started SaaS products or is it just me.
1) Customers want something else: Whenever you think of starting a SaaS Product, your natural tendency is to come up with a list of features which you think is right for your customers and for the product. Certain features excite you so much that it automatically becomes highest on your priority list. If you wait to develop all these features to launch your product, you are probably wasting twice the amount of time because your customers probably think otherwise. They want something else.
Lesson: It’s best to pick one main feature and launch the product with that one main feature. Give away a bunch of free trials. Get feedback. Sometimes, your customers will be nice about it and most of the times, not so much. But, listen and note complaints. If your goal is to come up with a Minimum Viable Product, it’s a long way to that island.
2) Customers wont pay for your experiments: When we launched, we launched with a pricing structure. Looking back, this is the most crazy decision we have made. Who is going to pay us when they know this product is not fully done. Luckily, we realized this almost immediately and kept a free trial and extended it whenever necessary.
Lesson: Don’t come up with pricing even before you know what your customers need. Pricing is a gradual process.
3) Design is key but not the way you think: We learnt this lesson from our previous venture. We spent lots on exceptional design. We soon realized that customers, like yourself, get bored very soon. The more they see in design, more things they can get bored of soon. Customers will only see what they want to see, how much ever you try to push all your capabilities on them.
Lesson: we believe that design should be simple with less components in each page. There should only 2-3 main call to action options for every user in every page.
4) Bless them initial adopters: There will be a few customers who take extra efforts in letting you know what they really think of the product. These people are God sent. Their feedback and suggestions are extremely important and it’s also equally important for you to give them special attention.
Lesson: Look for these customers. Make sure you keep them in a separate database. Talk to them whenever you launch a new feature. They are as important as your team.
5) Team, Team, Team: Success of any product boils down to your team. Initial success boils down to 4 departments: Developers, Support, Testers, BD. These 4 need to work together and keep each other updated at all times.
Lesson: I realize that this is one of my most important roles in the organization. Keep everyone updated on the proceedings.
If there are any successful SaaS product leaders reading this post, I would love your thoughts and if you have learnt anything more in your longer journey towards success.