How many times have you had an idea for a startup, but stopped yourself from actually doing it because you had no technical co-founder and didn’t have the skills to build it yourself? I know, a lot of us have been there.
The great news is you no longer need to have technical skills, or a technical co-founder to build your product. In this article, I will walk you through the process of building an MVP without writing a single line of code.
What’s an MVP?
Let’s put first things first — “MVP” is short for “Minimum Viable Product”. The concept of building and quickly testing the first version of your product is at the heart of the Lean Startup movement, started by Steve Blank and Eric Ries.
Lean Startup revolutionized the manner and speed at which entrepreneurs launch their startups (no longer does one write an infinitely long business plan, spend years on research and development, and launch the product once it feels 100% ready). The “Lean Startup” way of thinking tells us to develop the minimum amount of features in a product to sufficiently deliver the core value proposition, launch it, then measure and learn how to develop from there. Continuous testing and improvement of your app is meant to enable you to move from a first version to a final version as efficiently and accurately as possible.
The term “Minimum Viable Product” became widely popularised by Eric Ries with the launch of The Lean Startup book in 2011. Eric Ries describes a minimum viable product as: “[the] version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort”. Think of the MVP as a prototype, which has the sole purpose of validating whether or not your customers are willing to pay for your solution. By using an MVP to quickly validate your ability to satisfy customers and their ability to pay, you reduce the immense cost and risk of building the wrong product.
5 ways to build your MVP on your own
So, how can you build an MVP without a technical co-founder?
- Hire freelance technical talent. If you join an accelerator or startup support program, expect the first recommendation you’ll hear to be “find yourself a technical co-founder.” Having technical talent in the founding team is like having a partner in crime, comes with a load of benefits. For instance, there is always someone responsible for developing and updating the product. Someone just as dedicated to the startup as you are, who will be involved not only in the technical aspects, but in business strategy and marketing as well. Unfortunately, finding a co-founder like this can be a real challenge by itself. Outsourcing technical development requires a budget, and sadly most early stage startups are unable to afford this.
- Do it yourself (DIY). I know, it’s hard and time consuming! But think about it — what a great way to enhance your skill set! You have full control over the development process. Building an MVP by yourself will take longer if you don’t have any technical background or understanding of coding. Yet, the internet is full of great free and paid for resources to teach yourself build your own product with and without code.
- Use a template. In a lot of cases (more than one would think) a well-built template that is a close match to your idea is all you need to get started. Usually, templates provide the baseline functionality you can then customize to suit your needs. It is true, templates on platforms such as Wordpress sometimes limit your website’s flexibility. But there are other platform-based templates that don’t have that limitation! More on that in the point #5!
- Hire an agency. If you have the financial capability, you may hire a team of professionals to build your product for you. This is a relatively costly option compared to the previous three. Prices vary depending on the time needed to build your product, the complexity of your requirements and on the framework used to build your product.
- No-code app building platforms. For most startups, this is hands-down the fastest and most efficient way to build, test and launch an MVP. No-code building platforms like Bubble give a founder with no technical background the opportunity to build a web or native application simply by dragging and dropping around the elements of the app. It is faster and way easier than learning how to code. Building on no-code app building platforms provides complete control over your development process, leading to less effort invested in the product and the ability to quickly pivot and iterate.
Either way you go, you’re guaranteed to save money and time, and launch your MVP as quickly as possible.
You are the best judge to decide which of the above options is best for you. A lot of ideas for the products and services that passionate people are coming up with have the potential to be real game-changers in their industries. If you choose not to implement it just because you have no technical skills or someone said you can not be successful without a technical co-founder, the world may miss out big time.
Looking for No-Code Templates that fit your startup idea? Check out Zeroqode for inspiration!
In need of a team to build the product for you? Reach out to us here Bubblewits!