Whether custom software or software as a service (SaaS), there has been no better time than now to launch a software startup. Technology and software have become an integral part of everyday life by connecting individuals and businesses. Moreover, opportunities for innovation are enormous in the business and consumer world. A study estimated the US enterprise software industry at $120 billion, accounting for nearly 29% of the global market share. Yet, despite the impressive growth, the industry has an alarming startup failure rate which is why you should consider these tips to launch a successful business.
Focus on value, not features
It is tempting to build your ideas for features. While you may be certain that your users would love them, these features should come after you've conducted extensive user research and testing. It is easy to assume that you know what users want, and that can be disastrous. It is best to build a minimum viable product (MVP) with just the most valuable features to test the market for feedback for a successful product. Stay focused on solving a problem instead of providing extras. What problem does the feature solve? Does it make users' lives easier or more fulfilling? It’s prudent to focus on the benefits your product provides, not the highlights you want to boast of.
Keep your product simple
Regardless of the software's significance, resourcefulness, or excellence, user experience can make or break your business. What good is a product when you can't figure how to use it? User experience is ultimate – this is why your product should be easy for your users and not for you and your team. To do this, you'll have to understand your specific target market and where and when they'll be using the software. You may also find out whether they'll use it while doing other things. Then, make your product easy to use and easily integrated with other users' tools. Just note that there is more to the user experience than just the design and looks.
Make it legal
While you don't need any qualifications to create software, your product must comply with your specific industry. Therefore, it is vital to look into your particular industry rules, regulations, and other policies to launch your business legally. Registering your business is one of the few things you need to start a business legitimately. For this, you'll need to decide your business structure and choose a brand name, which is usually dependent on your business needs.
Build your brand
In an already crowded industry, standing out as unique is key but a very tough task. This is why you need to figure out how to properly differentiate your business from other brands offering similar products and services. First, perform research on your competitors to help position your business. While many choose to outsource to a branding agency, this should be an in-house process. You can utilize many free tools and resources to create your brand logo, colors, and design without any design skill.
Yet, it must communicate and be consistent with your goals and vision for your brand to stand out. Branding is more than a design-oriented activity. For instance, swift has built a reputation for offering an ideal platform for traders to buy Binance Coin (BNB) and other digital assets.
Explore initial user acquisition and pricing models
SaaS products usually utilize a subscription-based pricing model. Instead of one-time lifetime use, users pay for the product in an ongoing model, let's say monthly or yearly. You can consider this as a software license. This model is popular because each user's lifetime value increases. For instance, rather than paying a fixed one-time value of $150, a user may have to pay $12 each month for as long as they continue to use your product. This means the longer they stay, the more lifetime value you earn on them.
Regularly test, measure, and develop
The world is rapidly evolving, and you must be abreast with the emerging trends. Technology keeps changing, just as consumer behavioral trends and the new factors that influence their needs. You can't get complacent thinking you have the ultimate product. This is why you should keep an eye on recent developments and how your software product can adjust to improve. Anything else and your product will lose out to the new thing on the block. At that point, it can be tough to play catchup. Monitoring the metrics and finding out which features your product no longer needs can improve functionality and keep up with the consumer environments.
Financing and funding
This is undoubtedly a significant challenge faced by many businesses, not only startups. However, when it comes to startups, accessing funds can be challenging due to the risk involved. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to solve this headache. For example, you can bootstrap your startup and get most of the hard work done by yourself or pitch to a venture capitalist or an angel investor fund. Meanwhile, bootstrapping offers you more control over your startup. You decide how you intend your business to operate and who you get involved with, although it is a slow process.
Don't ride solo
This is one essential tip you'll need for your software startup journey. Although you'll need to put all the pieces together correctly, you need the proper support to get you through the tough days. Launching your startup is like a roller coaster. Things can change dramatically, and you'll need all the support and experience you can get. Success will be hard to achieve when you don't know where to turn in such moments. But finding the right people to inspire and mentor you is crucial for your success.
Admittedly, building a software startup will require time, testing, and fine-tuning. The critical thing is to make your product available on the market. Since you have an excellent working plan, metrics to monitor your success, and willingness to adjust, your startup has a good survival chance against the competition.
Walter Guevara is a software engineer, startup founder and currently teaches programming for a coding bootcamp. He is currently building things that don't yet exist.
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