Building a tech product or sounds exciting. For many, building stuff with cool tech is already quite fun. Add to it the fact that you can start making good money with it and now it becomes even more exciting! SaaS It’s one of many ways to create leverage on the internet and have a new income stream. However, in the real world, things aren’t as easy as they look. And the road to success, with a software product, is long and filled with pitfalls and landmines. There are no ways to guarantee success in this area, but there are several that will guarantee the failure of your product. If you want to know what those are so you can avoid them, read on. Content Overview Mistake 1: Not validating the problem before building the solution. Mistake 2: Not investing in marketing or customer acquisition. Mistake 3: Not having a proper pricing strategy. Mistake 4: Lacking enough differentiation from competitors. Mistake 5: Not building a community or network around the product. Mistake 1: Not validating the problem before building the solution This is by far the most common mistake of all. And we’ve all been guilty of this one way or the other. It’s too easy to get excited with ideas and think “Oh, this is brilliant. I’m going to make so much $$$ with this idea!” And then, you spend months on end coming up with something that doesn’t solve any real problem - no one wants it, and no one pays for it. I’ll take it one step further. The concepts of “idea validation” and “product-market fit” are super popular in Startuplandia. But, they’re quite backward. They end up being the main pitfall or roadblock in the way for most indie builders, founders, and creators out there. It’s far better, and more useful, to focus on one problem and then come up with ways to solve it. And this works when those problems come from the specific audience that you want to serve. Once you have identified the audience and the specific problems that align with your knowledge, skills, and interests... that’s a different story. You’re no longer creating products and then going out and trying to convince people to use them. You’re now in the “solving problems” stage instead. You can only stay in business once you have built something that’s valuable, solves a specific problem (or problems) and you have people that are using it/paying for it. Anything else is just a cool hobby to have. Mistake 2: Not investing in marketing or customer acquisition When I say “investing” I not only mean the monetary aspect. It also involves time and effort. It’s much more fun to work on the product and build new features than to do any sort of marketing. Marketing and the like is boring and somehow feels “icky”. But it is a vital part of the success of every project. And even though this seems like common advice, you’d be surprised at how uncommon it is. Marketing is another way of saying, “getting your product in public and having people know what it is about”. You can have the most groundbreaking product, built the best way possible and it will flop if it has little to no customers. And you can see someone else having a mediocre product with one or two features that’s selling like gangbusters because it has different channels where people find out about it daily. The common adage “if you build it, they will come” couldn’t be much further from the truth. Especially nowadays when there’s too much out there and not enough time to see it all. You need to have one main way of doing marketing and getting potential customers to check out and use your product. Otherwise, you’ll be putting a lot of time and effort into something that’s not going to get discovered by itself. Mistake 3: Not having a proper pricing strategy This is a crucial mistake because sales are the lifeblood of any product. And if you don’t have a proper pricing strategy in place, you can fall into one of two scenarios: a) An underpriced product with many customers that demand more than they’re paying plus being a general pain in the butt. Or, b) An overpriced product that can be very useful and high-quality but with little to no customers. Both of those are not good scenarios to be in. Proper pricing is both an art and a science. There’s a whole psychology behind it and depending on the price, people can perceive it as high or low value. In the first stages you don’t need to overcomplicate it. You can follow some guidelines to get you started and then tweak the pricing along the way with feedback from customers. The most common approach is to set a monthly recurring price for your SaaS that is between $10 and $30 dollars. If it’s lower than $10 it would look “cheap” and not very valuable. On the other hand, if it’s higher than $40, it’ll look expensive and would deter many “would be” customers. That’s why it’s important to have a pricing strategy that is not “set and done” but instead takes into account factors like: The problem it solves. The perceived value of the product. The market it is in. The price of the competitors. If it’s better recurring or a one-time charge. With a good pricing strategy in place, you’ll be able to provide value to the customers and be able to keep supporting the product for the foreseeable future. Mistake 4: Lacking enough differentiation from competitors This mistake is particularly common when there’s a new technology or a new trend in vogue (For instance, AI right now). When there is a big opportunity, many people jump to capitalize on it without thinking about the other players in the space. The result is several “clones” of a product with very little difference in the features offered. The only real difference becomes which one is more popular and is getting the most traction. But, it is not enough to have more buzz than others, for a product to be successful. One of the best ways to overcome this mistake and differentiate from others is to pick a particular niche and a specific problem to solve while ignoring other alternatives. Instead of trying to be a “can do it all” type of product. With this type of approach, you have a clearer roadmap of how to improve and grow the product. And it’s easier to convey the product’s value to potential customers. Others can see what the product excels at and if it will work for them or not. Also, carving a space in the market does wonders for the product’s positioning and the word-of-mouth marketing it will enjoy. It’s easier for people to know that if they want to solve ‘X’ problem, they should go to product ‘Y’ that does it best. Instead of wasting time with other alternatives. Mistake 5: Not building a community or network around the product This mistake is a very underrated one. But I’ve seen it time and time again to be a defining aspect of the success of a product. More so now than before. At first, it doesn’t sound like a big deal. Like if it’s just one of those “nice to haves” but not something to pay much attention to. But you’d be foolish to ignore it completely. If there were anything close to a “success hack”, this would be it. Creating a community around the product, especially in the early stages, is a smart marketing move for several reasons: You get closer to your target audience and can see/hear their pain points & wishes. You don’t need to create elaborate user avatars, just ask the audience. You can iterate and improve the product based on user feedback. You can incentivize them to do most of the marketing for you and have a group of ambassadors. You can test your assumptions in a “real life” scenario and even pivot entirely if necessary. And many more. (Bonus points if you build and improve the product “in public” while involving potential customers.) There’s also the opportunity to create further products and services based on the needs of the audience you have built. If you want to know more about this “audience-first” approach, check out the work of . Arvid Kahl Conclusion So, whether you’re an aspiring builder, an experienced founder, or a serial indie-hacker, it’s important that you are aware of these five common mistakes and that you avoid them whenever you can. There are, of course, other mistakes one can make in this building journey. But by avoiding the previously mentioned ones, you have a much better chance of building a successful product that will solve people’s needs and stand the test of time. Armed with this knowledge, not only can you be better prepared for the ongoing journey but you can also help out your indie friends with their respective projects so they can also avoid costly trial and error. Do you know, or have you seen any other important mistakes? Please let me know in the comments below! Thanks for reading so far. Consider and staying tuned for future articles. following me here on Hackernoon The lead image for this article was generated by HackerNoon's AI Image Generator via the prompt " " A split image with one half showing a builder working on their project, and the other half showing a struggling one.