Overcoming the challenges of building a tech start-up for non-technical people

If you are founder that does not have the technical skills to code but want to build your MVP, then this article will be of interest to you.

To provide some background, I am an accountant by profession who has worked in the corporate finance and operations area for the last 25+ years. The last 10 years or so have been in the property space. I started my own tech startup around 2 years ago.

I have learnt in business, if you do not know what’s involved to create something then it is difficult for a supplier to understand your needs and provide a quality service, which ultimately costs you more. If you take the time to learn how to do things and know what’s involved, then even if you do need to outsource, you will know you are getting a quality service and will pay a fair price.

Table of contents

Getting started with your own website

As with any company, you need a website to start with. I had reached out to several developers and found that it was rather expensive to engage someone to build our website. So, the first thing I did was to teach myself WordPress and learn how to build a basic website. This gave me control over the look and feel without needing to ask someone to make changes. It also saved me a ton of money.

While WordPress is a great way to start, I did need some assistance to create some technical features that were too complicated to do myself, so I accessed the help I needed through Upwork.

The other option is to use No Code service providers. There are several service providers that allow you to build complicated websites with a bunch of features and functions. The one I chose was Bubble.io. Bubble has allowed me to build and launch our webapp therealestateuno.com for very little cost.

Moving on to building an app

Again, to start with I tried to engage the services of someone to assist with the build, but quickly learnt that this would become really expensive. So again, I decided to teach myself. While the services of Bubble developers are significantly cheaper than full stack developers, you can learn the application quickly using online videos and tutorials.

I went to work building out the application and learnt along the way, which allowed me to launch our new business quickly and very cheaply. What I have built incorporates many features that you will find in social media sites as well as other more complex features such as a budget and planning tool for home renovations, and a document storage system that allows you to quickly save your home-related documents, invoices and receipts which are normally hidden in a draw and can never be found when needed.

Teaching myself has allowed me to develop new skills, understand our product better and also saved a ton of money. Yes, it’s a trade-off between time and money, however, if you do not have the money, you may not have the option. It’s also wise to find ways to reduce costs wherever you can until you have confidence that your product is valuable and people are willing to pay for it.

Value adding vs non-value adding services

There is a difference between outsourcing services that are non-value adding, such as book-keeping, and value adding such as building your tech if you are a tech business. Where services are at the core of your business and essential for you to operate, you need to have more control over what is being done as it presents significantly more risk.

Over my 25 plus years’ experience in running companies, raising money, managing staff and finances, people need to be paid for a service, however, you should always be careful to not overpay. To be a smart customer, you should have some understanding of what is involved – you do not need to be an expert in it, but you do need to know enough to ask the right questions and challenge any recommendations being made. You’ll also save a ton of money in the process and, importantly, build your knowledge and confidence to grow your business.

Article written by Steven Zammit, founder of Realestateuno