The state of mobile app development today has put starting up an app based venture in reach for many. Nonetheless, if you do not have a coding background, getting started for non-technical founders can still be a challenging proposition.
So, if the risks associated with launching a start-up are understood and with a sound business plan in hand ready to take the plunge, here are some pointers to help get you started on development.
Find a Tech Co-Founder:
Finding someone with complimentary skills will certainly be useful, but finding the right partner is difficult. There are many considerations going beyond just skills each person brings to the table.
If a technical partner is something you are open to, then start by getting involved within your local start up community. Participate in meetups, pitch days, accelerator events or hackathons. Expand and leverage networks (both real and online social) within the developer community and take the opportunity to connect with the talent pool in your area.
Even if the search for a tech co-founder did not quite pan out, you will at least learn about the startup ecosystem and get valuable feedback on your idea. Remember, some of the biggest names in tech, such as AirBnB, were started by non-tech founders.
Outsource Initial Development:
If you opt to go at it alone, then outsourcing the initial development work would be the next best option.
As with looking for a co-founder, the same rigor applies. When shortlisting or shopping for a dev shop, look for good references and keep in mind the following:
- - Understand their capability and communicate your expectations.
- - Seek feedback on development approach and identify risks or concerns.
- - Communicate your idea and monetization model clearly.
- - Be clear on the contract terms and deliverables, including post-delivery bug fixing or support.
- - Document the development scope and requirements.
- - Discuss project management, milestones and communication expectations.
Companies like Slack and Skype outsourced their initial development before gaining traction and investments to put in place their internal development team. The key is to approach your development as an iterative process through user and market validation, bringing us to the next point...
Think lean and adopt an MVP (minimum viable product) approach. In simple terms, build in only enough product features to validate market fit. Hear the experts tell it.
Take the opportunity to learn as much about software development as you can. Do your own research and talk to developers, not to a level for you to start coding but to have some broad understanding of process and structure.
Founding a startup is a risky endeavor but can be rewarding if done right. There are many factors that contribute to the success of a startup, things like product-market fit, market timing, marketing and business development, sufficient capitalization are just a few. Being a coder is not a pre-requisite for success, but knowing how to get the right people to help you get started and along the way certainly is.