Building a SaaS business can be extremely hard, especially if you are bootstrapping it without any funding. You have to build a product, market it, sell it, and support it. It's a ton of work, and it's easy to get overwhelmed.
In this article, I will show you how you can build a SaaS business quickly, without compromising on quality.
A SaaS boilerplate is a template that you can use to build your SaaS. It comes with all the features that you need to build a SaaS, such as user authentication, billing, and more.
The reasons to build your SaaS on top of a boilerplate are:
- You don't have to build everything from scratch. You can focus on building the features that are unique to your SaaS.
- Don't get overwhelmed by the technical aspects of building a SaaS. Follow the boilerplate conventions, avid analysis paralysis, and get started building your SaaS.
- You can get started quickly: you don't have to spend time setting up your project. Just clone the boilerplate and start building your SaaS.
- You get to market faster, with less risk.
- You will save a lot of time and money!
Of course, I'm biased since I'm the creator of Makerkit, a Next.js SaaS Boilerplate, but I've seen the benefits of using a boilerplate first-hand when building my first SaaS.
I spent tons of hours building features that any Starter Kit would've provided out of the box. If I compare the hours on building core functionality which a SaaS template like Makerkit would have provided, I would have saved tens of thousands of dollars.
Validating your idea is essential to avoid building something that nobody wants. While using a SaaS Boilerplate like Makerkit will save you tons of time and money, you still don't want to waste your time building something that nobody wants.
It's true - if you can build a SaaS in a week (like Makerkit allows you to do), you could likely skip this step and just build it: I still recommend validating your idea before you start building it - since it can have a significant impact on the way you build your SaaS.
Talking to customers early on will help you understand their needs and build a better product - even if you can build it in a week.
- Use a SaaS Starter Kit to quickly build a landing page for your SaaS. You can use Makerkit for this - which should craft a beautiful landing page out of the box. You will simply have to change the content and you are good to go.
- Subscribe to a newsletter service like Convertkit - which allows you to collect email addresses. It's already integrated with Makerkit, so you can simply add your Convertkit form ID to the Makerkit config and it's all set up.
- Share your landing page on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms. You can also share it on Product Hunt, Hacker News, and other platforms.
- Consider using paid ads to drive traffic to your landing page. This will help you get more traffic and validate your idea faster. For example, you can use Reddit (targeting by subreddit), Facebook, Google Ads, Instagram and TikTok.
- After you get subscribers to your newsletter - it's time to talk to your customers. Ask them what they think about your idea - and if they would pay for it.
- Evaluate the feedback and decide if you want to build your SaaS.
The above should be doable for less than $500. If you value your time at $50/hour, you will have to spend 10 hours on this. As you may know, many people spend months or even years building a SaaS that nobody wants.
Once you have validated your idea, it's time to build an MVP. An MVP is a Minimum Viable Product - which is the smallest version of your product that you can build to validate your idea.
When building an MVP, you need to ensure you don't spend too much time on it. You want to get it out as fast as possible - so you can start talking to your customers and get feedback. Remember: getting late to the market is better than never getting to the market.
While using a SaaS Starter Kit will greatly enhance and speed up the development of your SaaS - you shouldn't underestimate the time it takes to build a valuable SaaS - eg. a SaaS that is actually useful for your customers.
If your SaaS solves a problem that your customers have, that's your MVP. You don't need to build all the features that you have in mind - you can always add more features later on.
Once you have built your MVP, it's time to launch it.
Make sure to plan your launch carefully - and don't forget to talk to your customers. You want to get as much feedback as possible - so you can improve your product.
- You can add your SaaS to many directories, such as Indie Hackers, Product Hunt, Hacker News, Reddit, Beta List and more.
- Email your list of subscribers and ask them to try your product.
- If you can, keep up the ads and keep driving traffic to your landing page.
Talking to your customers is essential to building a successful SaaS. If you have launched and customers are using your app - it's time to talk to them.
Consider using tools to survey your customers, or even organize some 1-1 chat sessions with them.
Make sure to listen to your customers and iterate on your product.
Assuming you now have a fairly successful SaaS, it's time to scale it.
By using PaaS such as Firebase and Supabase, you can scale your SaaS without having to worry about infrastructure. Makerkit, in fact, can be deployed to Firebase and Supabase - which makes it easy to scale your SaaS. Scaling will almost never be an issue if you use a PaaS.
Ultimately, building a SaaS is hard. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a successful SaaS. However, using a SaaS Starter Kit like Makerkit will greatly reduce the time and effort required to build a SaaS.