For many years, launching a successful startup required at least two types of people to work. The first being, the visionary founder. This person would be the one to come up with an amazing idea and know-how to sell the dream not only to investors but potential team members, future employees, and the general public.
The second was the technical co-founder. In the digital world where unicorn companies earned billion-dollar valuations, the person who built the actual product by writing lines of code was essential.
Apple wouldn’t be Apple without Steve Wozniak, Facebook wouldn’t be Facebook without Dustin Moskovitz, Snapchat wouldn’t be what it is without Bobby Murphy. These technical co-founders have kept a lower profile compared to the savvy business leaders who became the CEOs at the aforementioned tech giants, but their contributions remain relevant.
Launching a startup without a technical co-founder taking on the role of CTO and building out your prototype might have seemed like an impossible task in years gone by, but that isn’t the case today.
Nowadays there are a host of other options you can exploit to get your startup off the ground, even if you’re just working through the early stages of your idea or if you have zero technical background whatsoever.
Using No-Code and Low-Code Tools
Platforms like Wix and Squarespace have been around for some time and are go-to platforms for creative entrepreneurs looking to build their own websites using drag and drop tools. Then, there are also platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce where entrepreneurs can launch their own e-commerce stores using similar templates and tools that remove the guesswork.
For a long time, the same couldn’t be said of apps. If an entrepreneur had a great idea for something similar to Facebook or Airbnb, they would need a technical person to help them bring it to life - that was until no-code and low-code tools began rising to prominence.
These tools remove the need for non-developers (and developers looking to save time) to have to write code to build applications. Low-code is a bit different from no-code in that there is still some programming work required, however, it removes the need for experienced software developers to do the work for you.
If you’re looking to just build a landing page for your idea, then platforms like Wix, Squarespace are great no-code tools for that purpose, but if you want to add some functionality to your application then you can try some of these tools.
Bubble is a visual programming tool that lets users design, develop, and launch apps without writing any code. If you’re an aspiring founder without any coding skills then Bubble’s visual components make it simple for you to assemble and build great products.
One of the key aspects of launching any startup is the prototyping phase. With Bubble, you can design your own prototype and test things out to present a working use case of your idea. Not only can you test your ideas in private but if you’re really feeling up to the task Bubble makes it easy to launch to the public and get real customer data on your idea and eventually scale your way to a true startup.
Maybe you don’t need to launch a full-scale startup but instead, need a very niche tool for a small audience. Glide could be the answer you’re looking for. With this popular no-code tool you can build web applications using spreadsheets.
Glide syncs to Google Spreadsheets and enables you to create simple apps that make your life much easier. If you need to create an interactive employee directory, applicant tracker, or incident reporter, for example, Glide can make that possible with the help of several templates. When your idea is in the early stages, these simple steps can be exactly what you need to gather enough data for something much larger.
So maybe you don’t want to do any of the initial coding work yourself? Well, then another option you can consider is to hire a freelance developer.
Upwork is one of the most popular freelance platforms with talent from all over the world. The platform is used by everyone from entrepreneurs to enterprise organizations so the talent is well-vetted thanks to Upwork’s rating and review system.
With an easy way to search the talent on offer and then communicate with them through messaging once you think you’ve found a good fit, Upwork is an ideal platform to find freelance developers, explain the basics of your idea and let them build it for you.
Another platform featuring worldwide talent Fiverr is a gig-marketplace where you can find great talent at low costs. Similarly to Upwork, Fiverr has a rating and review system that allows you to see the talent on offer and determine if they would be a good fit for your project.
Traditionally, Fiverr is a slightly lower-cost option than Upwork but the talent is still there, so if you’re on a bit of a budget and just need something to get started then Fiverr could be your solution.
Work With an Agency
Another alternative to coding things yourself is to use an agency to help you bring your idea to life. When using freelancers you may find yourself relying on one person to do the job for you. Depending on the depth and scope of your initial project this could take some time.
However, if you don’t have the time to build the prototype yourself then an agency could be a great alternative with a dedicated team of developers available to get your idea off the ground quickly.
Mintbit is a team of Ruby on Rails developers and UI/UX experts with a passion for turning ideas into world-class products that we would want to use. Our team is focused on helping you get your prototype launched and work with you through a three-phase process that gets you from discovery to launch as quickly as possible.
Interested in learning more? Contact us to get started.