Many startups understand that when you launch, you need someone to write code for you. Whether that means chasing down a technical co-founder, learning to code, or even building that “Lean MVP” – the conventional wisdom is that without tech abilities you are nothing more than a person with PowerPoint. This is why I am going to give you my perspective on how to launch a startup without writing code.
Focus on Serving Customers Instead of Building a Product
Successful founders all know one thing: it is more important to serve a customer than it is to build a product. This is the mindset you must get into when you start out. Most entrepreneurs are narrowly set on building a product that they lose sight of the real goal – to solve a problem for a customer. Customers do not care how things get done, just that you get it done and solve their issue.
Replace Technology with People
Think about the hardest part of the business you want to grow. The part that would require the most complex development – the true innovation that no one else does. Can a real person perform these tasks manually? For many startups, this was the secret to huge success.
David Quail is a super talented software engineer, with one exit already behind him. He wanted to solve his ultimate annoyance: scheduling meeting over email. David’s original idea was to build an artificial intelligence tool that could read an email chain and automatically schedule the event. But this would take months if not years to implement efficiently.
His shortcut to launching a business as soon as possible? He simply set up an email address for his customers to “CC” that forwarded to him and did the work manually at first to prove that customers were willing to pay. Over time he automated more of the service – but not before he already understood there was a massive demand and he was creating revenue.
Use These Off the Shelf Solutions
While your core technology might in fact be a service starting out, you can wrap it with an online presence, digital interactions, and the administration of a true technology company. In short, you can act, smell, and look like a fully automated online company that employs a posse of software developers and an in-house graphic designer.
You could use e-commerce services to accept payments and even subscriptions using “hosted payment pages” – No code required. You could also let your customers interact with you through sophisticated online forms you can publish (and brand) using drag-and-drown editors. In addition you could build a support knowledge base and community forum.
The list could go on forever. But as you can see, the internet is full of useful tools that let you conjure entire features with the click of a mouse.
The Hidden Treasures of WordPress
To most of us, the WordPress brand connotes a free blog, or a simple way to create a content website for those not versed in web development. But the true magic of WordPress is the ability to extend its functionality to create many kinds of web platforms – while keeping your hands mostly free of code.
WordPress itself is not free, and you can purchase inexpensive plugins that automatically transform your website into a membership site, ecommerce portal, social network, or even a daily deals site. Thanks to the amazing functionality that WordPress offers, you can definitely get something functional off the ground with their plugins.
Instead of spending thousands on a designer, you can buy a high-end theme for around $30 and edit it to fit around your brand. If you have a bit more saved up, you can hire a local WordPress expert for a few hours of their time to make those precise adjustments and create a tutorial to help you make those edits in the future.
To conclude, there are a surprising number of tools out there for non-technical company founders, so take advantage of them. If that is not an option for you, you can always hire talent that will cover those weaknesses. As long as you execute your business model well you can success, there are fewer technological barriers each day thanks to these solutions.