Many who wish to start their own tech businesses have the notion that you need to have some form of technical knowledge to begin with. This is not necessarily true. All you really need to get the ball rolling are your ideas, your vision of the company, and your dedication to succeed. While it is extremely helpful to have some form of coding background, your true time and attention will be focused on the marketing, sales and the growth of the business when running a tech company.
In the past decade, there has been a drastic increase in the number of tech startups around the world. As technology becomes easier to work with, numerous channels for independent learning have become available to anyone who wants to learn how to create a website or develop an app. But for a tech business to succeed, what you really need are a good idea and a repertoire of business skills.
Some of the most successful tech businesses today did not start with programmers at the helm. You can look at Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba who was an English teacher with no coding knowledge. Or Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, who started his company with a Master’s Degree in philosophy. There are also Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, the founders of Airbnb, both entrepreneurs with big dreams and even bigger successes. What all of these people have in common is they started their business with just an idea. They possessed no form of prior technical knowledge, but had an immense appreciation for technology and its capabilities.
As a non-technical entrepreneur, one of the first steps to take once you have an idea is visualizing how you want the end product to look. Whether you wish to create an application or website, you would need to figure out what would be on there in the first place; the best advice is to sketch it out on paper. Determine how your creation would look in its design, features and usability so you can shape out your creation. Once you have a draft then you can outsource that to developers and programmers to bring it to life.
Outsourcing to an established developer can be an added expense at the beginning stages of your new business venture, but it comes with the assurance that you will be receiving the best product in return. It also saves yourself the time it would take to learn all the technical knowledge necessary to get the same result. Once the first version of your product is complete, you can get your startup going and later hire on programmers and developers into your company to manage and develop it further.
An advantage that non-technical entrepreneurs have is that they are not placed within the same constraints as a developer-turned-entrepreneur. A common mistake that tech entrepreneurs make is that they put too much focus on their technology before other parts of the business. Like any business, tech companies only succeed when the CEO puts equal attention on the marketing, sales, decision making, company growth, as well as the technology.
While the technology is important, if the users are not receiving the attention they need then the business fails. Steve Jobs once said, “You have to start with the customer experience and then work backwards to the technology.” Whatever your technology hopes to accomplish needs to be shaped to align with customer demands. Unfortunately, some tech entrepreneurs lose sight of that focus when building out their product. Non-technical entrepreneurs, who are customers themselves, realize this oversight and are more willing to change their product to satisfy their customers.
Learning the Basics
Initially, you don’t necessarily need to be versed in coding to create a product and get a business underway. However, as your company scales up and developers and programmers are brought on board, it does come in handy to learn the basics. Whatever your product is based, whether it’s a website, program, or application, there are a variety of tools out there to help you learn the fundamentals and essentials of coding.
With a basic coding knowledge, you would understand what the technological limitations are, how to frame your solutions for scalability, and you would be able to communicate in a more efficient manner with your developers. Additionally, as the CEO of a tech company it would be in your best interest to gain knowledge and integrate into your business cloud and big data technologies. By integrating the cloud into your business, you’ll be able to collaborate more efficiently with colleagues, improve security, and increase overall productivity. Big data integration will allow you to track user choices and better align business decisions and marketing strategies with customer preferences. These techniques would have positive impact on your business if, as an entrepreneur, you are willing to learn and adapt to the tech industry.
Learning to code in today’s times is the easiest it has ever been since the invention of computers. With online organizations such Code.org and Codecademy, coding education has become more more simpler and easier to handle. These tools are extremely flexible so an aspiring coder can learn at the convenience of their own schedule. And the teaching techniques used on this sites guarantee you easily grasp the skills they are teaching you and establish a good foundation to build on later.
It’s not required that you, as an entrepreneur, must have technical knowledge to start your own tech company. It’s most important that the ideas are fully built out, while focusing on the marketing, sales, and growth of your company by aligning with and exceeding your customers’ needs. However, as the business develops, it would be beneficial to have basic coding knowledge. This will allow you, as a non-technical entrepreneur, to communicate more efficiently with your team, understand the limits of the tech field, and figure out solutions to help your business scale. So dream your next big idea, start your own tech startup, and, most importantly, don’t be afraid to aim high.
About the Author
Satinder Dhaliwal is a Computer Science student born and raised in Las Vegas. Satinder has always been interested in technology and has a passion for coding, learning multiple languages and creating a multitude of applications. Through his studies at UNLV and involvement with RVF Satinder aspires to create his own technology startup one day.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RVF or UNLV. In addition, thoughts and opinions are subject to change and this article is intended to provide an opinion of the author at the time of writing this article. All data and information is for informational purposes only.