SaaS is where it’s at. SaaS, or software as a service, is the fastest-growing segment within the IT industry. The SaaS business model typically involves a subscription service model centered around a cloud-based software product. Companies and/or customers pay for a subscription to access a software solution most often hosted in the cloud. This reliable, recurring revenue model makes SaaS products incredibly popular for businesses looking to scale.
Cloud technology advancements have encouraged enterprising individuals to think big and invent new ideas for SaaS solutions across various industries. New startups are formed daily since the possibilities and reach are practically endless. Launching a SaaS startup is just as much about execution as the original idea viability itself. Your startup needs to start on a strong footing if you hope to build software that sells in a sea of other companies. Decide what kind of SaaS company your startup will be and carefully outline the technology and resources needed to create your minimum viable product (MVP).
With this understanding and framework, you can move forward to hire SaaS developers that are a good fit for your startup. Freelancers, agencies, and in-house developers bring different strengths and challenges to your development process. You’ll have to decide in the best direction to take your business, but here at Modern Launch, we believe in the power of agencies to help startups reach their full potential.
B2B SaaS or B2C SaaS?
Before coding anything, you need a business plan. It’s all about asking critical questions and finding concrete answers. You want to outline a clear vision of your software product before you hire SaaS developers. Only then can you move forward with development. Thoughtful planning must come first. Far too often folks with “good ideas” jump to conclusions and start building without the proper preparation.
- Do you have core concepts and ideas documented?
- Do you have wireframes and or a prototype of your product?
- Have you engaged with potential customers collecting initial feedback to determine product-market fit?
- Do you have a well-defined scope of requirements for your MVP?
Who is going to be purchasing your SaaS product? If you primarily target business customers, you will create a B2B or business-to-business SaaS product. Conversely, a B2C product is tailored for non-business customers, aka the general public.
These two categories of SaaS solutions use the same business model, but there are differences in marketing strategies and product delivery.
If your startup creates a B2B product, it’s easier to anticipate your prospective customers. If your SaaS solution solves or improves upon existing mobile billing tools, you’ll market to companies that require mobile billing. If your SaaS idea addresses a highly-specialized concern or problem experienced by environmental consulting companies, then that’s your core customer group.
A B2C Saas startup usually has a more general customer base and requires a different approach to gaining core traction through various sales and marketing efforts. For example, Spotify and Netflix are B2C SaaS companies entertaining users with their cloud-based software projects and the user experiences are vastly different in look, feel, and execution. Driving engagement from established businesses vs. individual customers are two drastically different challenges.
SaaS products are typically hosted in the cloud, so customers and businesses can use them within a simple web browser or application. Your developers need to understand how to build an application and set up the infrastructure for optimal performance and security within the cloud.
Here are a few more areas of expertise necessary when creating a SaaS application:
- Database design and management (MySQL, Hadoop, Oracle, MongoDB)
- Security auditing
- Containerization (Docker, Kubernetes)
- Compliance knowledge
- Cloud services familiarity (AWS, OpenStack, Microsoft Azure)
- Analytics and logging
Hiring SaaS Developers
You’ll need to hire SaaS developers if you have an innovative idea and want to launch a SaaS startup. With a new startup, your resources are limited. You’re short on time, money, and people.
Software development isn’t easy, and it isn’t cheap. You can save a lot of money and headaches by hiring the right team the first time around. You can hire freelance developers, build an internal team, or select a reputable agency to bring your idea to life. All three of these options have their merits and weaknesses, but only you can decide which path is best for you.
Find a Freelancer
Freelance software developers are typically trained professionals that have left the corporate world to pursue a freelance career. Freelance developers are a great option for startups looking for someone to create a simple web app or business website at a competitive price, especially if there are existing technical experts on the core team.
A freelance developer might not be the best choice for all startup building SaaS software. Project managing an application build from start to finish requires much more than just “hiring a developer.” Companies that lack a product champion or team to directly manage the development often struggle to manage freelancers. Having a clear vision, scope, and project management framework to support the development is critical. The development process for SaaS software is quite involved and elaborate. It’s vital that the cloud infrastructure, security setup, and software implementation are executed at a high level. This can be a massive undertaking for any individual because it involves many disparate areas of expertise. In this situation, it’s often better to stick with a team development environment.
Build an In-House Team
Instead of hiring a freelance developer (or a few of them to work on separate components), you can work on building an in-house development team. You’ll likely want to keep your software scaled back until you can deliver a stable and viable product to investors and customers. You’ll need to hire at least 2-3 developers for a small SaaS team.
When building your team, choose developers with a wide skill set and experience building SaaS products. They’ll be working in a small team without the support of a larger development environment, so they’ll need to have a certain degree of self-sufficiency and the ability to learn new skills or technologies on the fly.
Even with a team of this size, it will cost you. Talented developers who can work with high self-sufficiency and have experience in various development technologies garner high rates and salaries. You’ll need to find a developer willing to work at a lower cost because they believe in your idea and can see their potential earnings rapidly rising if the startup succeeds. Or you’ll be forking over significant funds and/or equity for each developer.
Choose an Agency
Software development agencies can offer the best benefits of an in-house team and freelancer combined. A reputable software development agency has experience creating B2B and B2C SaaS applications, so they’ll know exactly how to bring your unique idea to life for your target customers.
Choosing an agency allows you to access various skill sets covering many software development technologies. If your project requirements change, an agency can pivot to bring in new developers to suit changing development needs. Scaling up and down quickly at this stage can be crucial.
With an agency, you gain all of these benefits without going through the trouble of interviewing and hiring. You don’t have to pay salaries, provide benefits, or give up equity in your company. You don’t have to manage employees. It can be a great option for a startup wanting to streamline its process and focus on business principles without sacrificing the quality of development.
If you’d like to explore working with a software development agency that has extensive experience working with startups and high-growth companies, then Modern Launch is happy to answer any questions. We believe in the systems we’ve set up that help us deliver the best custom software for B2B and B2C companies. We’re proud to work closely with our clients, offering a collaborative and supportive experience.
We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us.
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