How to Start a Tech Company Without Having any Tech Knowledge
When you consider starting a business, you begin to wonder in which domain you excel best. We find it important to know a certain activity domain well enough when looking to start a company. This gives us the impression that we will be more than able to control what is happening with our business. But, the truth is that this is not necessarily something that important. You don’t have to acquire any kind of knowledge in order to start a business in the domain you prefer. As long as you are a good entrepreneur and can handle management in an effective manner, any business you will end up running will become successful.
So, in the following lines, you will learn all about starting a tech company without having any kind of tech knowledge. At the end of this comprehensive guide, you will have all the information you need to become the owner of a company that will activate in a very successful domain. Thus, if you wanted to start a tech company but you were afraid that the lack of knowledge in this sector will be a downside, now you know that it’s not true.
Just how bad are your tech skills and knowledge?
Even though tech skills are not needed when starting a tech company, it is still a good thing to assess your skills and knowledge in this sector. You probably don’t know how to code, but can you set a regular VCR? Again, it’s all about knowing your limits, so you can make the best decisions, not about finding reasons why you should not start a tech business. Just take a look at the founder of Alibaba, which is currently the most successful online marketplaces, Jack Ma. Although Ma graduated from college only and obtained just a degree in English, he managed not just to start a tech company, but also drive it to success.
So, be realistic about what you can and can’t do when it comes to tech. This way you will find team members, collaborators, and employees that will fill in the blank spots. Also, even if you don’t have tech skills or knowledge, you should have a certain attraction toward this domain, so you can learn as you go. After all, you can’t expect others to take all the decisions connected to your company.
What can you do? List down any type of skills you may have
When determining your profile, as an entrepreneur, you will also have to determine the skills you have and may be of good use, not just the skills you may be missing. Although we are talking about a tech company, just like any other kind of business, it will require skills in the recruitment sector, marketing, finances, product development, PR, and others. So, the skills you acquired so far could be of great use when trying to put together your own company.
However, you may have some skills at the moment that could be helpful, without being aware of this. So, if you have good skills in networking, marketing, coming up with website content, blogging, social network marketing, fundraising, accounting, or taking care of legal issues, any of these skills can help. If you have several skills from this particular list, your chances of successfully running a tech company will gradually increase.
Know your customer niche and the needs of your potential clients
The secret of every successful company is the fact that it knows what customers need and want. You can’t come up with products or services that are going to be appreciated if you don’t know the needs of your potential clients. The best part is that you don’t have to be a tech expert in order to find out this kind of things. In fact, this may even be an advantage, as you’ll be able to explain things in a non-tech and non-sophisticated manner, reaching a wider niche of potential clients.
What to say when contacting potential prospects? First of all, focus on the solutions your tech services or products are offering. What kind of problems will they solve? Many people look for answers to their challenges but are often unaware of the solutions that can be applied in their case. Also, it is worth checking to see if the problem your clients claim to have is a real one or you’re promising to offer a solution to a matter that doesn’t exist. Finally, are your potential clients be willing to purchase your product? If so, how much are they willing to pay for it?
In order to find this type of information, it is worth checking the market by pre-selling your tech solutions. This is a very important step, most often overlooked by many companies, which can determine whether your company will make it on the market or not.
Don’t release your idea on the market without testing it first
It is very easy to allow yourself to be carried away by enthusiasm when you finally manage to come up with a great business idea. But, no matter how amazing you and your team think it is, you should not attempt to sell it without testing it first. This is extremely important because it will tell you whether it will be well-received by the market or you need to make some adjustments before you officially launch it.
How to make this happen in the case of a tech business? A good test would be to create a landing page and work on getting traffic to it. It doesn’t matter how to bring traffic to it, as long as it gets the exposure needed for the test. So, you can turn to large social networks, such as Facebook, and pay for the traffic it will offer. Of course, don’t hesitate to share your landing page in as many online environments as possible. Once traffic is generated and people start to sign-up, start counting the number of sign-ups. This will give you a clear view of what it will take to get real clients for your future company.
How to make sure a business idea has high chances of making it
One of the best things you can do to test a business idea is to actually talk to people about it. Don’t keep it hidden and treat it as a major secret, as it won’t get you anywhere. The main idea is to see whether people could use your idea or you need to come up with something better, something that will make your company successful. So, share your idea with as many people as possible. If you can reach to people from various environments, it’s even better. See their reactions and listen to what they have to say. Who knows, maybe you’ll actually get some great ideas on the way, which will make your own idea even more effective and desired by the market.
An important aspect you need to consider is the fact that the business idea should actually come from customers, and not from you. The main purpose of creating a company is to serve people. And the best way to figure out how to do this in a profitable manner is to know what they need and want. This is why the most successful business ideas come from the client to the business owner, not the other way around. This statement can be confirmed by many successful business owners, so make sure you make good use of it.
When crafting your business ideas, besides checking out what potential clients need, it is also worth taking a good look at what the competition does. Yes, spying on your competitors is probably one of the best strategies to make sure that you’ll come up with something better. Don’t worry that you’re doing something wrong or unethical because doing proper research of the market is not a bad thing. Besides this, competition will always trigger creativity and profitability. In other words, it is good for your customer niche to have other products for comparison. You can use this in your favor by underlining the reasons your products are better than what the market currently offers. So, look at the competition like something that can help your business, instead of driving it out of the activity. Just do proper research first and make sure you come up with something worthy of attention.
Even after launching your business on the market, do not stop listening to your clients. They may request additional services or products, or something that you are not currently offering. You may not have in plan to offer what they are asking for, although you should. The best way to make sure your company will make it on the market for very many years to come is to offer what customers need. So, it’s even easier when they actually make the request because you will know exactly what to do.
Once you consider that you can test the market with a product, start a pre-sell session first. For this, go for a simpler version of your product, instead of putting all your ideas into practice. This way, even if the product won’t be received well at all, the costs of making it and launching it on the market will not bring the entire business down. You need to be very cautious about today’s market if you want to avoid a failure. Also, don’t hesitate to take crowdfunding into account, especially if you have a product ready. This is a great way to help you build the budget you need to start offering your product at a larger scale, without putting the entire burden associated with this process on your company’s budget.
How to pre-sell the product you’ve created
This is one of the best things you can do for your newly formed tech company. If you succeed in pre-selling your product, it will be easier to get investors, co-founders, and clients. This step will become a palpable proof that your product has great potential, with the right amount of resources and effort invested into it. If you managed to come up with an idea that is viable on the market and did proper research that helped you know your clients well, you should have no problems pre-selling your first product.
What you need to remember about pre-selling is that you don’t need to gain a high number of customers. If you manage to sell your product to 5 up to 10 clients, it’s sufficient to have an idea of how things work. Of course, at this stage, you can’t really expect to make a profit or become wealthy, as the experience you will get is much more valuable than money. Besides this, even this small victory will validate your business and product in the eyes of others, regardless if we are talking about potential clients or investors.
But, how to convince people to give your product a chance and make an initial purchase? Offering discounts is a great persuasion method. You should give consistent discounts for those that decide to invest their money into your product. Still, forget about releasing offers like “lifetime” discounts for the first “x” number of buyers. Such a plan may be very difficult to sustain on long-term, so take into consideration shorter periods, like 1 year for example. In addition, the possibility to enjoy the discounts you offer should be limited. Thus, it is advisable to set a certain period in which the discounts are available. This way, only those that fit within this period will enjoy smaller prices for their pre-orders.
Also, you should set a limit concerning the number of clients that will be able to pre-order your product. Since you are giving the product away at a smaller price, which will definitely not trigger too many advantages for your business, you need to make sure that all the implied resources are used well. After all, you need to gain exposure for your product and business, not get into volunteering. People are attracted by special offers in limited periods, so make sure you take advantage of this. Did you manage to make the first pre-sells of your product? Then let everybody know about it. Ideally, you should encourage customers to talk about their purchase and product on social media. If you can get help from influencers, it is even better. The strategy here is to display the excitement revolving around your product and the benefits it offers.
You can go even one step further and show your first customers that you really appreciate their gesture. How to do this? Give every client that pre-ordered your product something on the side. It can be a mug, T-shirt, anything that is not expensive but will remind them of their first purchase from your brand.
It would be great if you can find a co-founder with tech skills
The truth is that such a person will definitely help you out, considering that you have no to minimum skills in this domain. You see, the success of a business doesn’t always rely on having a brilliant mind, but more on the people you choose to work and collaborate with. So, collaborating with a person that has the right skill set for your type of business is definitely a smart move.
But, don’t look at this as a hiring process or search for the ideal co-founder. Instead, treat it as an extended job interview. What does this mean? It means that you should first collaborate with this kind of people on smaller projects. Don’t go straight at proposing a collaboration to the first person with tech-skills you encounter. Maybe you two of you communicate well at first, but, eventually, won’t be able to work together, due to having different perspectives.
You need to find a person with whom you can connect. There should be the right kind of chemistry between the two of you if you want to row the boat in the same direction. Believe it or not, completing one small project successfully with one person doesn’t necessarily mean that you two are a fit. Be patient and move on to the next project to tackle together, even another project. Take small steps at this process because rushing into it out of the desire to see things moving in the desired direction can transform into a disaster. Getting the wrong person as a co-founder for your company can mean a lot of trouble in the future, especially if you will end up wanting different things.
While you can outsource projects and don’t even have to be in the same country as the tech person you selected, it would be great if you can actually meet and have a face-to-face conversation. Technology breaks a lot of barriers, but nothing beats a good in-person meet-up, especially when the future of your business is at stake. This doesn’t have to happen too often, but it should happen before deciding whether you should keep a person as a long-term collaborator.
Even if tech skills are very important, being the reason you need such a person at your side, it should not be the only factor that influences your decision. What does this mean? It means that it is worth paying attention to the person’s personality and other traits. Is he or she able to communicate well? Is this person open to working with other members of your team? If this person is the kind of “one-man-team”, someone who enjoys working alone or doesn’t seem to communicate or fit in your team well, you should think twice when it comes to collaborating with him or her. On the long term, a person that cannot be considered a stable member of your team can do more harm than good.
Where can such tech-skilled collaborators or co-founders be located?
In case you’re not sure where to start looking for a person with tech skills that can help your business, do know that there are more than enough places where you can find them. All you need to do is to be selective and do your best to find the right person for your business, who can contribute in a constructive manner to its success.
Forums that treat tech-related matters are great places to find the professional you need. Of course, don’t hesitate to look for this person on networks like LinkedIn. This particular network was specially created to connect experts from various fields to companies. If you know people that activate in the niche of your business, you could simply ask them if they know anyone with the skill set you need. Reading blogs, forums, and websites dedicated to start-ups can also help you find the kind of people you need. Doing so will also allow you to find details about one’s particular professional life. Even if you find someone that failed at successfully managing a company, for example, it doesn’t mean that he or she is not a valuable expert. Exceptional people can fail as well, as there are always aspects that can’t be foreseen or factors that can’t be controlled.
If nothing works or you simply want to expand your search area for the best tech collaborator, you can always choose to post a job or vacant position in online places like Craigslist. This way, you call the collaborators to you, not the other way around.
What characteristics to look for in a collaborator?
We talked earlier about the importance of checking out other attributes and characteristics, besides the tech skills a person may have. In case you don’t know what kind of characteristics can be useful for your business, here is a list with some of the most important ones:
Integrity – you should only choose to work with people that have integrity among their basic set of values. This may have nothing to do with tech skills, but it will definitely contribute to the well-development of your company if it exists;
The willingness and ability to go through training sessions – a person that considers knowing everything is not actually an asset. The tech domain is a very vast one and changes appear on a constant basis. Even if a person has, at the moment, solid tech skills, they can be soon outdated. You need to find a tech specialist that is actually willing to go through training whenever it is necessary and to be well aware that this is in the benefit of everyone;
Attitude – this is something you can’t train and is very hard to change. So, pay attention to one’s attitude before choosing to work with that person;
The level of humility – there’s nothing wrong in being self-confident, but you should also know your boundaries and respect others as well. Thus, it is recommended to find out as much as possible about the past experiences of a person within a team.
What to do in case a tech co-founder fails to appear?
So, time is passing by and you can’t seem to find the right co-founder with the tech skills you need, no matter what you tried. There’s no need to panic, in spite of not seeing any solution in this case. There are actually two answers available. You can choose to invest in your training and education so that you’ll end up being the one developing the technology you want to sell. Unfortunately, this means spending not just money, but also a huge amount of time, especially if you have no skills whatsoever in this sector. The second option would be to hire developers to take care of this job. If you want to save money and get skilled developers, the best way to do this is to outsource, preferably an offshore team. There are so many talented and hardworking developers abroad, without you having to spend massive amounts of money on their services.
If you are interested in starting a tech business, now you know the most important stages of the process, so you can make it even if you don’t have any skills or knowledge in this domain. Just use your entrepreneurial abilities and outsource the parts that are too technical for you. Be patient, calculated, and keep an eye on things every step of the way.