Are you planning to be a part of the enticing startup race? Are you, toying with the idea of setting up a tech startup but are mortified with the fact that you are a non-techie yourself? Then here’s a cheat sheet for every non-tech founder who is keen to lead a successful tech start up.
Have a Business Plan in Place
Although you are sure that you have a great idea that can solve a big existing problem, what you need to do first and foremost is to translate it into a concrete business plan. Even if you do not get into a lot of detailing, it will help for you to have a basic business plan in place that lays down your costs and potential revenues, just ensure that you clearly outline your USP. The plan will go a long way in ironing out the idea for yourself as also to help you transmit your vision to the team that you subsequently hire. Remember that many a tech startup has succeeded on account of not just its technological superiority but also what are termed as a host of latent factors such as its pricing, branding, promotions and more. Think Microsoft’s Licensing Model or the Intel Inside campaign.
Assemble a Team
While many a tech unicorn, (Apple, Microsoft, IBM included) was launched by a techie, the fact of the matter is that the success of a startup is determined by the combined efforts of a dedicated team not merely your own. If anything, the founder needs to be connected with the right network of people to ensure that the startup has a range of competencies available to itself. Your first goal should be finding a talented programmer who can make your vision a reality.
Learn Basics of Coding
It may sound like a good idea to start to learn to code yourself. After all it will help you actually build your great idea. Find time in your schedule to learn how to code. Even a non-technical co-founder needs to have basic coding skills to be able to communicate effectively with the techies of the team. Realize that learning how to code is unavoidable and your product will only be better because of it.
Develop a Minimum Viable Product
With a development team in place, what you need is a bare version of the product that helps to validate your assumptions and gain key market insights. There is little prudence in spending tons of money and valuable time in developing the perfect version of the product to simply validate your idea. Developing the Minimum Viable Product will help you not just test your idea it will also ensure that you do not spend time and money offering either the wrong solution or trying to solve a non-existing problem. With an MVP in place, you can apply the market learning to tweak your product and subsequently get into a full-blown product launch stage.
Go Out and Seek Guidance
It’s not always the core technology that’s responsible for success; it’s the execution of other tangential aspects that we often take for granted. Entrepreneurs are known to benefit from reading voraciously to keep themselves ahead of the curve. Be it reading business books or experiences of fellow entrepreneurs, it infuses both inspiration and ideas as you follow your own entrepreneurship path. You can also benefit from networking abundantly with fellow entrepreneurs as from developing a community of enthusiasts with which the organization can learn and grow.
Remain Open to Ideas
Needless to mention that irrespective of whether you are a tech or a non-tech entrepreneur the other necessary skills involve keeping the team inspired and leading them to achieve the set goals. Having an Ideas mindset goes a long way in remaining nimble and flexible. our goal as a leader is to paint the picture of the final destination, but let the people you recruit help draw the map for how to get there.
Market & Sell
Once you get to this step, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start selling like crazy. You need to prove yourself by standing on the frontlines, chasing down new business, and driving revenue. In a startup, you’re not going to earn your team’s trust by barking orders from the sidelines. Get your hands dirty and lead from the front. From here, find a scalable business model and you’ll be well on your way.
Don’t Deter from Failure
Above all, however, if there is one area of learning that no entrepreneur whether tech or non-tech, should shy from, it is the capacity to withstand failure. The adage that the sooner failure sets in, the faster success kicks in is most relevant when it comes to entrepreneurship. Always remember that large companies spent years developing before they took off. I’m pretty sure their early iterations weren’t so wonderful. So, it’s okay to scrap few mistakes in your pathway to success.
To summarize, while a technical degree can definitely come in handy in putting together a tech start up, the more important skills remain:
- A strong vision
- A mindset churning ideas
- Undying passion and creativity
- Ability to execute ideas
- To fail but succeed in learning from failure
By putting together a detailed business plan that helps you share your vision and having a reliable team who can develop a MVP, you can put your non tech skills to greater use in building a great tech start up.These skills when developed in good measure, will help you build the enterprise that you dreamt of as together, you and your tech team take your business up ahead!