Digital Strategist and Consultant, Growth Hacking Specialist worked for both startups & big brands.
Like most absolute statements, this one simply isn't true:
If you don't have technical skills, you can't build a tech startup.
In fact, if you have the willingness to build a tech startup, it does not matter whether you have technical skills or not: your passion and belief is the key, not your coding skills.
There is no denying the fact that startups and innovative technology have become synonymous with one another.
As a result of this, many people now think that they can't open up the business without coding skills.
1. Yes, it is essential to have an excellent understanding of the technology involved in the product/s you are building.
2. No, you do not need to be an engineer or developer to set up, sustain, and lead an impactful tech organization.
Have you heard the story of Tinder?
The founder of Tinder, a company that made $498 million during only Q2 of last year, is from a non-technical background.
With his strong determination, persistence, Sean Rad has been able to set up this application. This app has become one of the top-grossing apps on the iOS store).
Moreover, Brian Chesky (Founder of AirBnB), and Michael Dell (Founder of Dell) built some of the highest-valued tech companies even with their non-tech backgrounds.
My aim in mentioning these examples in this post is to make you realize that even without technical expertise, you can also set up a successful business. Their stories, along with many others, have established a precedent that non-tech founders can succeed.
I have come across many people asking, ''can you start a tech company without any level of technical proficiency?''
Believe it or not, opening a tech company doesn't require to have a tech background.
Always remember that as a founder, you need to know how to get things done and developed, instead of learning how to do or develop them yourself.
An important disclaimer...
Regardless of how talented you are, one day, you will feel trapped, especially in the feeling of not being able to do something that's critical to the running your company.
In fact, this situation can also come even if you are an experienced technical founder.
In that case, the reasons could be the lack of marketing, managerial, and financial skills.
In short, you need to adapt to the needs of your striving company and work accordingly.
Pro Tip: Always remember that not being able to code is not the excuse for not building a tech company, as coding is just one of many tasks critical to the operation of your organization.
Some people believe that they should hire a technical co-founder at the earliest period of their business.
But trust me, this is not always a be-all and end-all solution to setting up your company.
Suppose you have set up your tech company, and you are stuck with one part. Let's say that part could be resolved by simply just talking to users about their feedback from the users.
Do you think, at that time, you should hire a technical co-founder? Of course not! Notably, in that case, when your product is literally based on the company itself, doing as much work by yourself will save you time and money. Even though it may be quite tempting to outsource your code to freelancers, this is not at all recommended to the new founders.
While it may be tempting to outsource your code to a freelancer, this isn't recommended, as the iteration cycle is far too long to make any meaningful progress on your product.
If you don't have any idea about the technology of your products, then it would not be very easy for you to write functional requirements for your company.
Before hiring any developer for your products, learn at least some basics about the technology behind it.
For example, we all know that all the modern technology systems have two ends- the front and the back one. Hence, every non-tech person needs to get familiarized with these terms.
Well, the front end means the services or applications, a user will experience on a website, software, or application. However, a back end exists on the servers and features the database, the application layers, etc. that process the data and presents information to the front end.
Pro Tip: Don't underestimate the power of learning a little bit of code.
What about project management skills? As a non-tech founder, it is essential to develop a variety of other skills in order to compensate for a lack of technical skills. It can be based on the basic principles of project management. In addition to this, you should also learn a little bit about the primary language of your products.
Let's take a case to understand this situation properly. You are launching an application with the help of some developers. Some of your users are complaining about one function of that application. So, what will you do in that situation? Of course, you will try to communicate with your developer. But the question is 'how?' If you don't know how to speak with the developers, set deadlines, or tell them about the problems, you're going to be lost in the lingo of the people working for you.
Pro Tip-:Learning a little bit of code can go a long way. Just having some basic coding skills can help you gauge if that estimate is correct, and will enable you to articulate the needs of the product to the developers better.
And last but not least, a tip that you should follow by heart while launching a tech company as a non-technical person- try to learn different things from every person. Many successful CTOs have said in interviews that they have reached this stage of life just because they believe in partnership.
To be more honest, they have great commercial acumen and understand why what they are building helps the customer. They also believe in discussing their business goals with the developers so that they can work accordingly and prepare an extraordinary application.
Launching a tech company is hard. Of course, the process is stressful, unpredictable, and daunting, too, especially when you a novice non-technical person. But believe it; this is a difficult task, not an impossible one. You can learn how to do coding with the developers, or co founders. A little bit of knowledge can create a substantial difference while setting up the business.
As we all know that technology is constantly changing, so it's important to keep abreast of current trends always and to learn emerging methodologies.
When you keep abreast of yourself with the pace of technology, then you will be better equipped to keep up with the demands of your company.