Building a technology-based start-up without a technological background is a daunting challenge to most. Although bright business and technological ideas invariably fuel excitement, the excitement often is quickly overshadowed by trepidation over the lack of technical skills and a technical background. Start-up success should be premised on the viability of the concept rather than primarily the technical execution. In spite of technological shortcomings, one can build a technology-based start-up (and eventual empire) through persistence, organization, and intelligent decisions. Below are a few rudimentary strategic ideas and elements to consider to help build a technology start-up even without a technical background.
Put Pen to Paper / Type Up Your Thoughts
Ideas may be small and simple, or large and complicated. Crystallize your thoughts and ideas by documenting them. The act of rolling up your sleeves and taking the necessary time at the outset to write down your business idea has numerous benefits to visionaries and entrepreneurs. One of, if not the most important benefits of writing down a business idea is that allows for the opportunity to gain clarity. Writing down business ideas allows one to think more clearly, creatively, and critically about what it is that they will be creating and or selling. Additional benefits of writing down business ideas are that it averts the chance of forgetting ideas, and increases excitement and follow through with ideas.
Reach Out to Potential Customers
After you have documented your business idea and formulated a business plan, it is wise to reach out to your target market to better understand the desirability and feasibility of your product or service and collect feedback to help build upon your original idea. Some of the sort of questions you would ask your target customers would be:
- Would your technology assist them with a current problem?
- Would they pay for it and if so, how much?
In the event that you require more detailed guidance in understanding the sort of questions to ask or the information you should seek, it is beneficial to take Steve Blank’s free online class on the Udacity website.
Recruit and Partner Up
Depending on your time and interests, you may wish to learn to code to help bring your tech start-up to life. Nonetheless, a more prudent use of your time may be to recruit a technical partner who can manage the technology end of the business while you work on the business itself. Although you may be reluctant to provide a percentage of the ownership share of the company at the outset, it may be your best bet to take on a partner to progress the initial idea into a product and in turn, a viable business. In essence, when one lacks both the necessary technical skills and the monetary resources to outsource the development work, working with a partner is virtually essential. Keep in mind that a smaller share of a viable business is more valuable than sole ownership of a non-profitable business or simply just a great idea.
Commonly, entrepreneurs will rely on their personal and professional network to team up on tackling new start-ups. This allows entrepreneurs to work with those who they feel most comfortable with. Nonetheless, alternatives to resorting to your personal and professional networks are to create connections and recruit through various networking events, university job fairs, start-up events etc. Additionally, online tools like LinkedIn and Angel list are excellent platforms for creating connections with various technical and non-technical professionals. Like all important personal relationships in life, it is critical not to rush in selecting those who you wish to work with in starting or managing your company. Perform reasonable due diligence in determining whether the individuals you have selected not only have the capability of completing the nature of work required but also fit well personality-wise. Toxicity and disharmony among work relationships will more often than not result in failed start-ups.
Market and Sell
The success of all business enterprises requires marketing and an ambitious sales team as the product or service it offers must be known to potential buyers. Do not wait to have a polished product or refined service before commencing your marketing and sales efforts. In terms of branding, you can begin creating an identity through the creation of a tailored image consisting of particular colors, a logo, taglines, social media channels etc. With respect to sales, you can begin introducing the product or service to your target market even before you launch the business off the ground. Not only will it allow you to gain feedback to help you refine your product or service but it will also lay the foundation for future sales efforts.
Like Rome, start-ups and viable businesses are not built overnight. You have to be patient and maintain enthusiasm and drive during the entire process. Invariably, there will be challenges but resilience and drive are a part of the genetic makeup of every successful business enterprise.
Enjoy your entrepreneurial journey!