How To Build A Tech Startup (when you are not techie enough)

So you had a startup idea, but you think you’re not technical enough…

When thinking about some of the tech startups out there, we often think that these founders are tech gurus. That’s not always the case. There is no set rule that makes it necessary for your tech startup to succeed based on your technical skills. As founder of your business, you need all the passion and drive to run the business, be the expert in the domain, seek out clients, create marketing campaigns, facilitate revenue generation and growth whilst your technical co-founder can manage all the extremely complex art of building the technical side of start-up.

We often see the opposite situations where tech founders seek co-founders for their startup who will complement their non-technical skill. Yes, it is very common for most successful tech start-ups to onboard by someone who can write code. But this shouldn’t stop you. If you have one great idea and you really, really believe in it, there are a number of things you can do and it all starts with the right mindset.

There is no silver bullet to building a successful startup. It is extremely hard and very risky proposition (especially if you are building a tech startup without being technical) but following these basic principles will allow your startup to have the best chance of success:

Plan

Building a company requires a lot of time, hard work, and dedication. You need to be prepared to spend months, if not years trying to get it onto its feet and maybe more time to make it stand out from the crowd. The idea may be amazing but it is the PLAN that will allow the execution of this idea to get a stable foundation for your business to grow.

Spend the time to create a detailed action plan. Understand what it would need to run this business, how are you going to reach your customers, budgets, competitors, core features and the team you need to make it happen. Even the logistics of acquiring each customer needs to be planned as with more customers comes a bigger need to service them.

A good financial plan is also very important as it will show that the business will run and how much it will cost to reach your customers. There is no point doing a free-to-use video app when the cost of serving the customers and bandwidth far outweighs your predicted cash flow. (Snapchat in its recent filing declared that it was spending over $2B over 5 years on Google Cloud… ouch ). It is very likely within the first month of running your company, you completely throw the plan out the window, but at least you have thought about the possibilities.

Research

Ever heard the saying “you don’t know what you don’t know”, in the tech world it happens a lot, particularly with non-technical founders. Explore all the existing tools, invest in building a prototype for your startup and speak to potential users to get validation from them. Take time in researching your potential customers and if you’re lucky to already have customers, learn as much as you can from them.

To get one step ahead of everyone else, you need to spend ample amount of time to doing research. Research competitors, similar products, their tech offerings, their revenue and find out all you can about the market you are entering.

Always Learning

Having no technical skills is only a problem if you are not willing to learn about it. Having a curious mind and diving in head first into the tech world will only help your understanding of the industry you are entering.

Did you know that Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey and even Mark Zuckerberg (to some degree) were all self-taught programmers? Admittedly, they are all fairly technically savvy, but you don’t need a degree in computer science to run a tech startup.

Another way to help overcome your shortfall in the tech space is to surround yourself with a good coder, finding a suitable tech co-founder or hiring a great team (either employed or contracted). They will help you learn the processes and avoid the pitfalls needed to build your start-up. This, in turn, will shorten the learning curve and will give you a better chance of success.

Work, Work and more Work

Ever heard the saying “Wantrepreneur rather than an Entrepreneur”. What it means is that “wanting to run a company” and “actually running” it are two different things. You have to give 110% of yourself to building the strong foundations for your company and to be prepared to get into the trenches if required to do the hard work when required.

You don’t need to hire the team or the co-founder or contractor right away, but you do need to do the groundwork and lay the foundation. Once you have your co-founder or your technical team has been hired, the level of work required to manage these things just escalates. It’s not enough for you just to accept that the technical team will deal with it, you will need to be involved every step of the way.

Don’t get carried away

Lots of people plan on getting to the destination before they have experienced the journey. Don’t forget you have to travel through a,b,c,d,e,f, and g before you get to “h”. Every idea needs time to become reality. Don’t just trust the first people who show interest in your startup, focus on the bigger picture. Not every coder will be the best, and not everyone you hire is going to be ideal.
Give yourself time to select the right team and get them on-board and buying into the vision.

Be the face of your Startup

So, you’re not the technical person in your startup, but you will be the face of it. You will be Interfacing regularly with investors, potential clients and employees. You will need to learn on how to present your start-up and there is a range of skills you will need to learn such as presentations, negotiation, public speaking.
Investors are attracted to great teams, and as the leader, you will be the person responsible for its future success. Investors are not willing to give their time and money unless you are serious and don’t give up on the first “NO” or even the 100th. For each “NO” you hear you will learn from this experience and if you really believe in your startup start-up other people will too.

Even though you are not a technical person you will need to lead your tech company. Know what you are good at and continually work on the basics of the things that you are not.

Choose the right Team

We know your idea is great, but ultimately it comes down to how you execute this and the team you choose to help do this with you.

Whether you choose a technical co-founder, to hire some coders or to contract the development to a company like Cirrena it will come down to what mix best suits you as the founder. Building your own development team is not for the faint-hearted and managing them is hard enough let alone running a new company.

Cirrena has built and launched many start-ups over the years and with our great team of technical experts would love to assist you with your start-up. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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