This article first appeared in the Hackernoon.
There’s an ugly myth about startups. The myth is that for your software startup to succeed the founders need to have a solid technical background in fields like coding or IT. But, the truth is running a successful business takes much more than just having a technical background.
You can create a powerful and successful software startup, even if you do not have a technical background. The key is making sure you get everything else right and that you know how to finds the technical talent you need.
Create the Right Team
The first step in creating a successful software company is putting together the right team. Startups are team sports. You need the right mix of personalities, skills, and experience to get your idea off the ground and successfully launch your app.
You want to make sure that your team knows that you are the leader. You need people who will speak their mind, tell you that you are wrong, but that are willing to support whatever decision you ultimately make.
According to entrepreneurship expert Salim Ismail, every startup team needs someone to fill these four roles:
- Visionary and Dreamer
- Customer Champion
- Innovation Architect
Getting the Legal and Business Foundation Right
Once your team is onboard, you need to take care of some housekeeping details. You need to get your legal and business foundation setup. Even though things like choosing the right legal entity for your business, creating operating agreements, and setting up accounting systems are not sexy, they are essential to the success of a business.
Ig want to take your idea and turn it into a viable product that earns a profit, you have to get the legal and business details right as soon as possible. If you have a strong legal and business foundation, you will be able to scale faster without risking everything falling apart.
You will need the help of an experienced business lawyers and accountants at the start of your business before you have started major development and before you are ready to launch.
Focus on Solving Customer’s Pain Points
The next thing your software business needs is to make sure that you are going to create a product that people actually want to buy. Your great idea may have started this process, but you need more than an idea to have a successful software company.
Make sure that the software you are developing solves one of more major pain points for your target market. It easy to get distracted from solving your customer’s pain points when you start to try and make an app that works.
Every decision you make with the business and with the development of the product must come back to this question:
“Will this make the customer’s life easier?”
If the answer is no, you need to reevaluate what you are doing.
Use the Right Tools and Vendors
The most successful startups are lean startups. You need a small, capable team. But, you don’t want to be weighted down with too many employees. However, that doesn’t mean you should do everything yourself. Since you lack a technical background, you already know you will need help with the software development. But, you will also need help with marketing, testing, and countless other things your team lacks the skills or experience to pull off.
All of those things can be managed if you are using the right tools and you are outsourcing the work to the right vendors.
Waydev is designed to help non-technical entrepreneurs understand and manage the work of your developers. The tool is cost effective and simple to use. You can access the detailed reports on your tablet or smartphone. At a glance you can see how much progress is being made and where the major roadblocks remain. Because it is designed for non-technical entrepreneurs, you can still keep your project on track, even if you don’t know the details behind the specific lines of code.
Fiverr is a freelance marketplace. You can find freelancers with a variety of different skills to work on short projects for your company. You are able to message individual freelancers, view their portfolios, and see their reviews. It is the perfect place to get much of your marketing work done. You can get everything from website designs, content marketing, and social media marketing. When you use Fiverr, you can cake your budget tight, but still have access to world-class talent.
You are going to need coders. Before you are ready to hire employees, you can find some incredibly talented coders on UpWork. Like Fiverr, it is a freelancer platform. But, on UpWork you set the project budget and invite freelancers to bid for the job. It is a cost-effective way to get specific portions of the coding done without having to hire a full team of developers. Each freelancer will have a bio and a set of reviews, so you can pick the ones that are the best fit your specific project.
LinkedIn is the most powerful networking platform in the world. If you are looking to add more permanent members to your team or trying to find outside advisors, LinkedIn is the place to start your search. You will not only be able to see the qualifications and experience of individuals, you will also be able to see how connected they are. Building a business is all about making connections and LinkedIn is the easiest way to get connected.
Test, Analyze, and Iterate
No startup gets everything perfect the first time. You will need to spend a lot of time testing your product. There will be a lot of mistakes and a lot of failures. But, as long as you are willing to continue testing, analyzing, and iterating, no failure will be permanent.
Each iteration will bring you closer to your vision.
If you are like most successful startups, you will launch with a software product that is short of your initial expectations. But, you can continue the process of testing, analyzing, and iterating after the initial launch. As long as you are shipping something that makes your customer’s lives a little better each time, you will have a prosperous software company.