Leading a tech startup with no technical background is the same as diving in the ocean without knowing how to swim. But, in order to learn swimming, you have got to accumulate the courage to dive in. It’s the same with a non-technical person trying to build or lead a tech startup.
Everything is possible or you can say everything can be made possible. All it takes is a zing within you to get started.
Startups and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand and since the last five years or so you might have come across these words a billion times, if not more. Everyone is geared up to build his own tech company. With an array of ideas bouncing in the head, people have started calling out their inner entrepreneurs, which is absolutely fine. But, one of the major challenges that bars them from starting up is the lack of technical knowledge or probably no knowledge at all.
Looking at examples of tech giants who built companies that are currently ruling the technology space (like Apple, Microsoft, Google and IBM), you will find that their founders were technically sound. But, the story doesn’t end here, there is always another side to it.
AirBnB, a leading online portal helping people to list, find and rent vacation homes around the globe: its founders are not programmers.
Coffee Meets Bagel, founded by the Kang sisters in 2011, is a dating app that enables people to find a single solitary match every day. Its founders also don’t share a technical background.
Getaround, founded by Jessica Scorpio, is a concept that allows users to rent out cars in their neighbourhood. She believes if you don’t drive your car every day, rent it out to others. She has a BA degree in Political Science.
There are numerous examples more about people with zero technical knowledge who have propelled in the tech world.
You Are Not The Only One Swimming In This Pool
With aforementioned examples, it is pretty evident that you are not the only guy who is ready to lead or is currently leading a tech startup without a technical background. If they can do it, you can also achieve the same heights.
All that is required to do is follow your passion, believe in yourself, and stay focussed.
Following are the points you need to ponder being a non-techie leader of a tech startup in order to achieve the unimaginable.
Get The Basics Right
No business model becomes a success overnight. Thoughtful plans, brain storming sessions, concept visualisation, cost estimation, marketing campaigns, and achieving short targets certainly make one.
It’s important, being a co-founder, for you to have a crystal clear plan about the concept you focus on working along with a razor sharp vision to achieve the set goals. Idea, strategy, resources, estimated cost, implementation and marketing are the prime factors that you need to take care of right from the start. It’s not just supremacy in technology that makes you a winner but the sideline factors like branding, marketing, reach, promotions and more make the real difference.
Partner With A Tech Expert
You are technically challenged, so you require a person who is a technical expert and has considerable experience in the field. Look for someone with unmatched tech skills or probably with a skillset which is good for you to get started. Founders usually make the of mistake searching for their tech partner on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Don’t!
Search engines will pull out links that have been optimised to rank high, leaving out all the good ones at the bottom. You can instead look in authoritative publications, leading tech forums, and top consultancies to get a desirable partner onboard.
A tech startup isn’t a one-man show. A team of professionals is required to make things happen in the tech world. You along with your tech partner must hire a bunch of talented and skilled professionals who are ready to devote their time, body and soul in your startup.
Hiring can be a tedious job. You have got to analyse the contenders well and hire accordingly. Ultimately, the team will take you over the line.
Define Team Roles
Make sure your team members have a specific and pre-defined role. Appoint them roles according to their ability, including you. If you are good at marketing, take the lead and control the marketing campaigns. Leave the technical stuff to the pros.
Define Your Goals And Identify A Success Path
It’s important to have long-term vision but at the same time, you need to have short-term targets to accomplish. Set a month’s target, plan out a strategy for the same, devise the plan and analyse your performance after a month.
Capitalise on your performance, month-after-month and identify if you are on the right track to achieve the invincible.
Stay open to ideas no matter how far you have gone with your startup.
Ideas are refreshing and provide you with an insight of how you could restructure things which aren’t falling in place or how the existing system can be improved to achieve desired results.
Remember, you as a leader of the company need to devise strategies and plans for growth and expansion, which can’t produce fruitful results unless you have an open mind for new ideas and innovations. Conduct brainstorming sessions every now or then, to ensure you are on the right track and all requisites are covered that will take you to the final destination.
As an owner of a tech startup (that focusses on building a mobile app or a web application) with no technical knowledge, your path to success will be full of hurdles and darkness, showing you a rare ray of hope. No matter how hard the situation is and how well you are coping up with the same, don’t let your aim fade away and continue to march like a warrior inspiring the troops along the way.
Motivate the team, inspire them to achieve results within deadlines, praise them on their achievements and keep them moving. A lot of startups fall apart due to lack of focus, dedication and zeal. Ensure you aren’t one of those and fight till the last ball of the game and who knows you can score a home run with that last final shot.
With all the technological superiorities and a team of tech maestros you will end up building a remarkable product, but unless you market it well you won’t reach the heights some of the other tech giants have outstretched to.
Marketing is the key here.
Take the example of Steve Jobs: he is a brilliant marketer, a presenter and a leader. He had the vision, the team, and other necessary resources to build a revolutionary product called iPhone. But, if he didn’t possess astute marketing skills, the iPhone wouldn’t be such a great hit.
Summing the whole thing up, the takeaways are: use your non-tech skills to the fullest, believe in your tech partner and team, deter failure, and push yourself beyond your limits.