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5 tips for non-technical founders




So, you have a great idea in mind have decided to take the leap of faith? Or do you have a lot of skills and expertise in your area and want to build your own product in that space? However, you are not technically strong enough to do it yourself.


There are advantages of being an expert at something or to understand a problem deep enough to build your business. You know it better than the most and can solve it better. You may not have the technical skills but you would need to learn how to find the right people to jump on the boat with you and delegate the tasks to them. And remember you are not alone. There are success stories out there with non-technical founders doing well. AirBnB, Snap and even Apple all had non-technical founders.


Airbnb Founders CTO Nathan Blecharczyk, CEO Brian Chesky and Chief Product Officer Joe Gebbia


But just because many startup founders have done it, doesn’t mean you wont face any challenges.

There are several challenges that non-technical founders of a startup may face:


1. Build some technical expertise: As a non-technical founder, you may not have the necessary technical skills or knowledge to build and develop your product. This can make it difficult to communicate with technical team members especially if they are not familiar with the technical jargon and concepts being used. It is important for non-technical founders to make an effort to understand the technical aspects of their business and to work closely with their technical team to ensure clear communication.


Decisions like which technology stack to use or which platform to host on, can be challenging. Hence, its good to learn basics of technology to understand how product functions.




2. Find the right CTO or technical co-founder: Finding the right technical co-founder or CTO is critical to the success of your product. Not only they understand the technology better, they can help you take the informed decisions. They can help you understand the risks and keep the product up-to-date with technology. You may also struggle to build and maintain relationships with technical partners, such as software development firms or technology vendors this is where their expertise is important.


Finding a CTO/Co-founder should also depend on the personality of the person. Do you get along well? Do your personality match theirs? At the risk of sound cliched, it is like a marriage. A successful partnership will lead you to great success whereas divorces are usually disastrous.




3. Decide if you need to hire a tech team or outsource for your MVP: As a non-technical founder, you may struggle to find and hire the right technical team members, and may not have the expertise to manage and lead a technical team effectively. To build you MVP, you have to weigh in the pros and cons of your own team or partner up with a development company to provide you technical services.


However, if you decide to outsource initially to save some capital, you need to do your due diligence on the vendor, understand their processes, team structure and take small steps with them.




4. Learn product management: We can not stress enough how important it is to understand product management and different stages of product development. A Product Manager is often called the CEO of the product. Similarily, when you are starting up your product based startup, you need to learn how to work with designers, developers, marketing and external partners. Also understanding what to build and how to prioritise is really important when you are working on shoe string budgets and quick timelines.


You also need to learn how to do user research and interview your customers. Taking up a short course online to familiarise yourself with the concepts is a good way to start.




5. Focus on building the product vs building the company: Many founders (especially the first time founders), fall prey to the excitement of building the business. It's brand-new, thrilling, and all about helping you realise your dream, we know. However, at that moment it would be foolish to put all of your effort into planning in areas like project management, sales, and marketing.


Stop concentrating on developing the business and start concentrating on developing your product and determining whether there is a demand for it. Once you have chosen a successful business model for your startup, you will have plenty of time to put other components of the firm into place.


In addition to missing out on moments when their actions might offer actual value, founders waste time trying to manage as many procedures as possible. At that point, spreading oneself too thin might be rather dangerous.






Overall, a non-technical founders face the challenge of effectively leading and managing a technical team and product development process without having the necessary technical expertise themselves. However, it is completely ok to not know all the answers. What is important for non-technical founders is to be proactive in seeking out resources and support to help them overcome these challenges.


If you are looking for a passionate team to help you design and develop your product as a non-technical founder, feel free to reach out to us for a chat.

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