Over the weekend I had an interesting conversation with a developer who wanted to start a web biz and hopefully move away from custom web development. I think this is the trend I am seeing amongst developers. SaaS/ Cloud is hot, the tools are there to get something up and running quickly (and inexpensively) and most people want this to be their ticket from getting out of the service (web development, design etc.) business. I am happy that we are thinking this way. We need more world-class products. I thought I’d share my thoughts from my conversation as I think the following 2 points are really important for the transition to happen and it might help if you are caught in the middle…
Say you have 5–10 companies using your beta app — it is easy to get this going since most of these would be either your current web development clients or friends/family. If you really want to measure the value of your app you need to make sure they pay for using your app. It could be anything — even Rs 100 a month. Just have them pay something for their use. When money exchanges hands it opens up new conversations and possibilities.
The next time you are getting a beta user on board tell them that they will have to pay for the app — Try it and see for yourself. The feedback you will get will be very real.
Act As-If (reminds me of the line by Ben Affleck in the movie Boiler Room)
Act as if you already own your dream SaaS company. Walk in to your prospects office like you already own your product and are on your way to have a ton of paying customers. Act as if you don’t really need them — in this case, no sucking up. Say no to customizations. If they know that you are into web dev then tell them that you are slowly phasing this out and concentrating on the product. Be confident of who you want to be. The SaaS app is also their ticket to saving time, cost or <insert your value>.
Just my 2 paisa.