Non-Technical Founders: How do you start a tech startup as a non-technical person?
Are you someone who has a great business idea, but lacks the technical know-how to bring it to life?
Moreover, the big question is – Can I start a tech startup without a tech background?
And the answer is – YES.
You’re not alone. There are countless successful entrepreneurs who have created thriving tech companies without a coding background & technical qualifications.
In this post, we’ll explore the world of non-technical founders and share tips on how you can succeed in the tech industry, even if you don’t know how to code.
Who is a Non-Technical Founder?
Before we dive into the tips for succeeding as a non-technical founder, let’s first define what a non-technical founder is.
Simply put, a non-technical founder is someone who has a business idea but lacks technical expertise.
They may not know how to code, build a website, or develop software. Sometimes they don’t even have a background or subject matter expertise in that topic.
Non-technical founders often partner with technical co-founders or hire developers to bring their ideas to life.
The Benefits of Being a Non-Technical Founder
While technical expertise can certainly be an asset in the tech industry, being a non-technical founder can also have its advantages.
For one, non-technical founders often bring a unique perspective to their businesses.
They may focus more on the user experience or have a better understanding of market needs.
Non-technical founders may also be better at communicating with customers and investors in non-technical terms.
How to succeed as a Non-Technical Founder?
1. Partner with a Technical Co-Founder
One of the most common ways for non-technical founders to bring their ideas to life is to partner with a technical co-founder.
This person can help build the product and handle the technical aspects of the business, while the non-technical founder focuses on other areas, such as sales, marketing, and customer service.
When choosing a technical co-founder, it’s important to find someone who shares your vision and values and who you can work well with.
2. Hire Developers
If you’re not able to find a technical co-founder, you can also hire developers to build your product.
This can be more expensive than having a co-founder, but it can also give you more control over the development process.
When hiring developers, it’s important to be clear about your expectations and to have a solid understanding of the development process so that you can effectively communicate with your team.
3. Learn the Basics of Coding
While you don’t need to become a coding expert, learning the basics of coding can be incredibly helpful as a non-technical founder.
This can help you better communicate with your technical team and understand the development process.
There are countless resources available online, such as Codecademy and Udemy, that can help you learn the basics of coding.
4. Focus on Your Strengths
As a non-technical founder, it’s important to focus on your strengths.
This may mean spending more time on sales, marketing, or customer service while leaving the technical aspects to your team.
By focusing on what you’re good at, you can help your business thrive and grow.
5. Build a Strong Network
Building a strong network can be incredibly helpful as a non-technical founder.
This can include connecting with other entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors who can provide guidance and support.
Attending industry events, joining online communities, and participating in accelerator programs can all be great ways to build your network.
6. Stay Up-to-Date on Industry Trends
As a non-technical founder, it’s important to stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments.
This can help you better understand your market and make informed decisions about your business.
Subscribe to industry publications, attend conferences and events, and join online communities to stay informed.
7. Focus on User Experience
As a non-technical founder, you may have a better understanding of user needs and preferences than a technical founder.
Use this to your advantage by focusing on the user experience.
Conduct user research, gather feedback, and make sure your product is intuitive and easy to use.
8. Be Transparent with Investors
If you’re seeking investment for your business, it’s important to be transparent with investors about your technical expertise (or lack thereof).
Investors understand that not every founder is a technical expert, but they want to know that you have a solid plan for bringing your product to life.
Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses and how you plan to address any technical challenges.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
As a non-technical founder, it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.
Whether it’s asking a technical co-founder to explain a concept or reaching out to a mentor for guidance, don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it.
Examples of Successful Non-Technical Founders
To further illustrate that non-technical founders can succeed in the tech industry, here are a few examples of successful non-technical founders:
- Sarah Leary, Co-founder of Nextdoor – Leary had no technical background when she co-founded Nextdoor, a social networking platform for neighborhoods. She focused on the user experience and built a strong team of engineers to bring her vision to life.
- Brian Chesky, Co-founder of Airbnb – Chesky had no technical background when he co-founded Airbnb, an online marketplace for vacation rentals. He focused on building a strong brand and customer experience while leaving the technical aspects to his co-founders.
- Sophia Amoruso, Founder of Nasty Gal – Amoruso had no technical background when she founded Nasty Gal, an online clothing retailer. She focused on building a strong brand and a loyal following on social media, which helped her grow her business.
- Kevin Systrom, Co-founder of Instagram – Systrom had a background in marketing and product management when he co-founded Instagram, a photo-sharing social media platform. While he wasn’t a technical expert, he understood the importance of simplicity and user experience, which contributed to the platform’s rapid growth.
- Jack Ma, Co-founder of Alibaba – Ma, a former English teacher, co-founded Alibaba, a multinational conglomerate specializing in e-commerce, technology, and internet-related services. Although he lacked technical expertise, Ma focused on building strong relationships with business partners and creating a user-friendly online marketplace, which helped Alibaba become a global giant.
In conclusion, being a non-technical founder doesn’t have to be a hindrance to success in the tech industry.
By partnering with a technical co-founder, hiring developers, learning the basics of coding, focusing on your strengths, building a strong network, staying up-to-date on industry trends, focusing on the user experience, being transparent with investors, and asking for help when you need it, you can create a successful tech company without a background in coding.
Just look at the examples of successful non-technical founders who have done it before you. So, go ahead and bring your business idea to life!