So you have a great idea for a startup, but lack the engineering know-how to turn that idea into a reality? Don't let an initial hurdle like that stop you in your tracks.
When the idea for our startup Hukkster was born, we knew we had come up with something that could truly change the face of retail. Coming from fashion merchandising backgrounds, our programming knowledge was quite limited but with determination and an open mind, we made our idea a reality.
Here are three tips for starting up without a tech pedigree:
1. Understand the problem.
Before you can fully launch your idea, you have to truly understand the problem you're solving. With our extensive retail experience and mutual love for shopping and fashion, we were both the industry insiders and the target demographic. As non-technical founders of a tech company, its crucial that you bring something unique to the table.
Having an extensive knowledge of the industry and a true passion for your project will give you credibility right out of the gate to attract the technical talent you'll need to build your company. We've also found that engineers love a good challenge, so having a clear understanding of the problem you're solving and why your approach is the right one is important when recruiting technical partners.
2. Talk to anyone and everyone.
If you try to keep your idea to yourself, you're sure to miss out on a lot of opportunities. You'll be closed off to so many people who could provide advice and feedback along the way. Put yourself out there and take meetings with anyone you can get your hands on in the startup space -- technical and non-technical people alike -- to learn from their successes and failures.
To build your network, try cold calling. It might be intimidating, but the worst they can say is no and with more people in your network you'll have more opportunities for introductions to technical talent. Remember that your idea is a starting point. In the end, your success depends on how well you execute your idea. Though, having the right people in your network will surely help.
3. Think outside the box.
Just because you aren't starting out with a technical founder doesn't mean you can't get your proof of concept -- or what's known in entrepreneurship parlance as minimum viable product -- off the ground. Know that this cursory product doesn't have to have all the bells and whistles of your final version. It simply needs to prove out your concept. Breaking down your idea into smaller steps will make it feel more possible and easier to see your goal.
We're living proof that you don't need to be a coding genius to get your idea off the ground. Use the skills you do have to your advantage.
How did you start up without a technical founder? Let us know with a comment.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.