You know the old adage “you don’t know what you don’t know”. Well this is exceptionally true for non-technical startup founders who want to build a technology-based startup, of which we are seeing more and more of each week. The challenge for founders in this situation is that they need to somehow have, or obtain the know-how to successfully execute technology projects which is a major component of their business.
So the real question for these founders are; how do you successfully manage and execute medium to large scale technology development projects with limited experience. Especially when considering that you are most likely competing with other startups or established businesses with more technical experience and capability. How do you gain the edge to get ahead?
The first reaction for most founders would be “I’ll learn it as I go”, this is admirable and ambitious, and definitely part of the journey, but without external help or guidance, this learning process would mean a steep learning curve that results in costs and mistakes that will hinder the process of your startup. There are two alternative solutions that non-technical founders could seek to get a step up on this problem.
1. Get a specialized mentor
Ongoing learning is definitely part of the process for all founders, especially in areas they lack the most knowledge. But to speed up the process and minimize mistakes due to inexperience, the founder can seek to bring an experienced adviser into the fold as a mentor to help make decisions and provide guidance on an as-needed basis. This adviser should be someone senior with relevant technical experience in your business, and ideally also have relevant industry experience. This would mean networking and seeking individuals known in the industry and then pitching and selling these people your dream and vision for your business. The exchange would most likely be equity for time.
2. Engaged experienced advisors as consultants
If equity is not something you wish to part with to non-investors and non-employees, then the second option is to engage the expertise of people with the experience you seek as consultants. This opens up a wider pool of people you can reach out to, as providing consulting services for a fee reduces the risk and perception of a time sink from experienced professionals, as well as alleviates the need for you to pitch the success of your dream and vision as a means of (future) compensation. The challenge here is then ensuring you are engaging this right professional with the right relevant experience with a passion for your idea.
Of course, there is no single magic bullet solution and every startup has a unique situation with different needs and challenges.
Within the Tech Ready Community, we have mentors to which you can reach out and get one to one coaching, you can find more about them on our expert section.
Co-Founder of UpSpot