If you are a start-up founder, you might think that by knowing how to code, you will have extra control over the development process, but if you do not, you might have zero impact on the final solution. Here is the reality: running a start-up has more to do with entrepreneurship than with pure coding. Certainly, it would be an advantage to know programming. You can code your app by yourself or explain to your development team what you expect from them. Basically, you have three options. You might choose one of them. Before you read further ask yourself the question: How does this option help me save my time and/or money? Your answer will be the basis of your mobile development strategy.
Option 1. Learn how to code.
There are many online courses like CodeAcademy or Coursera where you discover the basics of programming.
- You will know how the things in the programming work.
- You code your own product and know how it works from the inside.
Anyway, working in a team is better because start-ups have to excel in activities where enterprises hire entire departments.
Option 2. Find a tech co-founder
- You delegate responsibilities.
- You start development immediately.
- Product quality and development time will depend heavily on your partner’s skills and passion.
- When you experience growth, you will have to rapidly scale your product which is hard for one person to do.
- When your partner decides to quit, you will have to quickly find a replacement for his competencies.
Option 3. Hire a team of professionals.
- You focus more on what works instead of how it works.
- Development starts as soon as you have signed a contract.
- You solve the problem with design and testing.
- Development process operates in a faster and improved manner.
- Finding a reliable development partner also takes time (How you can find a development team? Read our next blog post).
- Development costs. On one hand, hiring a cheap team can produce an unacceptable product; on the other, hiring an expensive team could mean you run out of money before you get your product to the market.
As a start-up, your main competitive advantages are your vision, your deep knowledge of the market and your flexibility. You discover a problem encountered by your target market then find out how to solve it using a mobile app that profits all parties. And, you are not afraid to add new features or even completely rebuild your app after you have determined the app is not what your users want. You must determine your top priorities and focus on them. All your non-priorities must be delegated either to your team members or to an external team. How can you focus on your priorities? Here to list a few:
- Become part of an incubator programme. You get everything for your growth, from office space to workshops to mentorship.
- Make a list of initial requirements. This is how you can refine your idea
- Discuss your requirements with your team/mentor. Some of the requirements might be unreal (e.g. app must launch on all Android devices within 3 seconds). Others can be too costly for the current stage (authorisation using both email and any of major social networks).
- Show your refined requirements to your team and ask them for a transparent plan with costs and timeline. You will see whether your team is able to build what you plan and if any additional steps are needed.
To sum up: Reid Hoffman studied philosophy before he co-founded LinkedIn. Just because you do not have tech experience, it does not mean that you are not an entrepreneur. Coding skills are a big help but they are not a start-up’s crucial competence. Instead, spend this time finding a mentor and making a list of requirements for your team to develop an app for your target audience.