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5 Key Tactics for Excel as Non-Technical Founder

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It is often said that in the business world, you have to be tech savvy to start a startup. However, this is simply not true. While this helps you if you have a technical background, it is possible to be successful without speaking fluently of things like coding and networking.

Take a deep breath and let it be

It's easy to feel a bit discouraged if you have a business idea, but recognize that you do not have the technological skills to code it or develop it. And while it would be nice to be both tech savvy and experienced in business, the vast majority of entrepreneurs lean on one side or the other.

"We see amazing technical founders such as Mark Zuckerberg who has also mastered the commercial side, but these are extremely rare," says Ben Erez, non-technical founder of several companies. "I have not seen any reverse stories of a founder with a business background becoming a world-class engineer."

Erez raises a good point. You will occasionally see technical founders adapt and learn the business skills they need to succeed, but you will very rarely see a business-driven founder suddenly turn into a coding rockstar or a technical genius. That 's probably gone somewhere, but it' s not a common occurrence.

There is something to be said for working hard and committed to learning, but not being enervated to become proficient in a highly technical pursuit. There are hundreds of cases of non-technical founders who have started technology companies in recent years; there is no roadblock that prevents you from doing the same.

Still not sold? See the following examples:

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  • Nirav Tolia founded Nextdoor.com, a private social network that allows neighbors to communicate with each other, and raised $ 100.2 million without any technical skills.
  • Michael Dell founded Dell, one of the largest IT companies in the world, without having extensive experience in technology. He was able to experience success by surrounding good people.
  • Believe it or not, the founder and CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, did not know much about technology before launching the company. Today, Airbnb is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and is estimated at $ 31 billion.
  • Evan Sharp, founder and CEO of Pinterest, is another example of a well-known non-technical founder. But instead of letting his lack of technical skills hold him back, he did what he could to raise over $ 762 million.
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Yancey Strickler of Kickstarter, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, Chad Hurley of YouTube … the list of successful non-technical founders goes again and again.

You can let your lack of technical skills set you and prevent you from acting on your business ideas. Or, you can let stories like these motivate you to keep moving forward. You could fall on your face if you decide to continue, but there is also a chance that you will succeed and succeed.

5 Tips for Non-Technical Founders

It is extremely difficult to start a business without having technical skills as such. Let's be clear on this point. However, you can overcome your lack of technological skills, provided you know that they exist.

Whether you've started a startup or you're just in the idea generation phase, it's helpful to create a game plan to meet the challenges you face. That said, here are some tips to help you succeed:

1. Hire the appropriate technical assistance

If you do not have the technical skills necessary to flesh out your business idea, you will obviously need someone who will do it. There are several ways that you can follow, including outsourcing development to an external company, hiring a partner or co-founder or hiring a company. 39, an independent contractor. In the early stages, it might make more sense to do this.

While you may want to hire a technical partner, do not rush into a decision like this prematurely. You will have to give up a high percentage of the company when you are courting a co-founder and an unthinking decision will launch your startup into the ground before it has a chance to skyrocket. Start by working with a handpicked contractor and you will retain all the control.

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"As a non-technical founder, you simply do not know what you do not know," says Paul Towers, a non-technical entrepreneur who founded several successful companies. "Working with a contractor gives you more control over the relationship, it also allows you to add and change the scope based on the first reactions you receive."

2. Consume as much knowledge as possible

While you can not force yourself to become someone that you are not, you can improve your technical skills by committing yourself to learning as much as possible about the basics. You do not need to know how to develop an application or code software, but you must have the vocabulary and an accurate understanding of the process in order to lead your team.

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At a bare minimum, Towers suggests learning to code. Coding is something that you will find useful for the rest of your life and, even if you will probably leave the development side of your product to your technical team, it's nice to have a direct understanding of what's going on. They do.

There are many free and paid online courses that teach beginner coding. Try to cut 30 to 60 minutes every day for the next three months and you will be amazed at how much you will recover.

3. Be smart with investments

As a non-technical founder, you have to be very careful about how you spend your money. It's easy to get scammed by thinking that you need a particular piece of hardware or software, without really understanding what you're buying.

The best advice is to be smart with your investments on this front. If you have a technical partner, talk with them before buying anything. If you are alone, do some due diligence online.

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When it comes to hardware, it is a good idea to start buying used equipment. Companies like BrightStar Systems are selling top brands like Juniper, Cisco and Arista for a fraction of the cost. With software, always take companies on a free trial basis and familiarize yourself with the interface and features before you pay them a lot of money.

4. Do not try to deceive people

Non-technical founders often experience a sense of inadequacy when they find themselves in large rooms filled with other technical contractors. It's easy to feel as if you do not belong, or that you are somehow "less" than them – but rest assured, that's not true.

The worst thing you can do is try to deceive people into believing that you are a technical contractor. First of all, 9 out of 10 people will see through you. Second, what do you really gain by trying to deceive people? It will eventually force you to live a lie. Be honest about what you bring to the table and do not feel guilty about all that is missing. Building a business is not a one man job. It takes a whole team of people.

5. Do not micro-manage your technical team

As the founder of your startup it is natural to want to manage everything, but you have to be careful not to micro-manage your technical team when you do not really understand all the little things

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"What you need to do instead of being in a continuous update loop is to define a communication and delivery process between you and the team. 39 technical team to get an update on the tasks of the previous day, the challenges they encountered or met and the milestones of the day, "suggests contractor Rahul Varshneya." This will allow you to To be at the top of the steps and to solve problems as they occur without losing days or weeks. "

Do not be somebody you are not

At some point in your life, you had a friend, parent, teacher, or loved one who told you that you had to stop being someone you were not not. Most of us deal with this desire to change who we are during our teenage years.

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Social pressures tell us that we must be leaner, taller, smarter, more athletic or more charismatic. However, as you have learned with optimism, social pressures are anyway wrong. You are who you are and you must be comfortable with that.

The same goes for your entrepreneurial career. You might feel the pressure to acquire amazing technical skills, but that's not what you are. There is nothing wrong with being a non technical founder and it is time for you to agree with that.

While you will need to take strategic steps to overcome your technical shortcomings, this article will hopefully give you a clearer picture of what it looks like.

With a few simple choices and smart decisions, you can give your startup what it needs to succeed.

Photos Five High via Shutterstock


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