If you want to start a startup, but you do not have the required technological knowledge, you can find yourself in a situation where you will need to look for a partner working in the field of new technologies that will support the development of your startup. This is feasible, even the founders of Airbnb have created a company worth billions of dollars without coding skills.
RISKS WITH STARTING A STARTUP
Programming and technical skills have a high value on the market, and good people are very sought after. If you think about renting your own team, you compete not only with other startups but also with large international technology companies, Google, Nokia, HP, these are just a few of the most trivial examples from Wroclaw itself. At the initial stages of the project, you do not have much to offer to a potential CTO (technology director) or co-founder with technical skills who, if skilled, can be employed at attractive positions. Shares, of course, can be an incentive, but at the beginning, 50% of nothing is still nothing.
On the other hand, working without a partner with appropriate knowledge and skills can lead to making the wrong choices that can affect your business for years. Obtaining a cheap prototype is one thing, but if you cannot scale it or version it, you will only lose time and money by doing the work you have already paid for.
The timing is the most important in implementing a startup. If you realize in which phase of the development cycle you are in, you can make decisions that will help you get through the next stages, and in the long run be very profitable.
HOW TO START A STARTUP?
GET OFF TO A GOOD START
If you are trying to move from the idea stage to something more tangible, which will generate some money from potential investors, you should create an MVP (minimum viable product). As the name suggests, your task is to create the simplest possible implementation of your idea. You must have something really useful, that will show you how your idea works and why someone would buy it.
At this stage, you will probably want to minimize costs, which means you do not necessarily want to hire people who will work on site. Before you pay wages, benefits, or matters related to ZUS, you need to know if your idea works, or you have to reconsider the concept. This means that you need to look for an outside team that will create something that you can work with in the future.
When you start it is tempting to spend as little money as possible for the implementation of your idea. For example, renting a company in India that will take care of implementation. Unfortunately, in the long run, this approach can quickly become a huge disadvantage. An application whose skeleton will be inefficient and not scalable can quickly stop functioning when it starts to handle real traffic, and a weak code will generate very high costs for development and maintenance of the application.
STARTUPS NEED TO INVEST IN GOOD ADVICE
As a non-technical person working in a technology-based company, you need to understand the importance of investing in good advice. For example, you can look for the most advanced technical person on Linkedin, experienced and respected CTO, who will be your adviser for a small part of the shares. This will allow you to understand the technically difficult issues and will open a network of technical references that you will be able to use in your idea.
Do you know how the API REST works, how to use SASS or LESS in building the front end, how to optimize the service using technologies such as REDIS or Varnish. If not, know that you need a technology plan. If you do not know how much you do not know, you can find yourself in a very dangerous situation. This is the main reason why you want to build your MVP project as limited as possible so that its subsequent reworking will not be particularly painful. Free advice is not necessarily good advice, so you should learn how to invest in high-quality tips.
GETTING TO THE NEXT STAGE
Even if you manage to pass the MVP stage, you still have to watch who you take on board, and more importantly how much money you have in the bank. At this stage, you already have an investor and you can hire a CTO for your project if it is a friend or someone who strongly believes in your project, but it is best to look for an external team. There are consulting companies that deal with the research and recruitment of relevant IT companies.
As far as you do not have something that brings a steady income, you should keep all fixed costs at the lowest level possible. Flexibility will decide about your success or failure. Working with an existing team means you do not have to waste time searching for the right people and then worrying about how they will work.
If you have people recommended to you and you know that you are able to manage a small team of people, freelancers are another hiring opportunity, which you can use to keep your costs low. This option may work quite well, provided you have someone who will be able to verify the work of the freelancer. Of course, you can hire someone who just learned to code for 50 PLN / h, but you probably can not afford to have another person who will come and do all the work again, because the first one did not know what he was doing. Sometimes a larger investment initially saves time and money in the long run.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TECHNICAL TEAM
Once you have a product that works and brings money, you can start thinking about hiring your own technical team run by the Technical Director. You are already at a stage where your concept has shown potential, you probably have a clearer picture of where you want to go and what has to happen to make your product grow.
If you already have people working with you as freelancers, you can use the Ikea effect - our attitude to love your own creations. Your advantage is also that you know how you work with people from outside while maintaining a low risk. If you work with a third party, you may be able to borrow several people for dedication, in exchange for a fee. In this way, you will again build the best-performing relationship that develops your business.
WHAT CAN YOU DO NEXT?
Building a technology startup without technical skills may be demanding. You do not know what you do not know, technology is changing very fast, and the number of competitors is increasing quickly. At the same time, good programmers with technical skills are at a premium for you and your competition. If you are looking for a technology partner, remember the following:
- invest in good advice and use the recommendation to find good quality people and companies,
- start with a minimum and build a minimal working version, the so-called MVP to show that your idea works,
- when you scale a business to the size in which it starts to sell, try to keep costs low, work with developers and external companies until you get a steady source of revenue,
- appoint the CTO only when it really makes sense, and use the relationships to build the right team.