Advices for non-tech founders building impressive SaaS startups
Hello non-technical founders! 👋
Welcome, and congratulations for your startup kickstart! 🎉
After two years as an advisor for Edith & Nous, I've seen countless questions about how to become successful as a non-tech founder. I think what you'll find in this post is a good enough answer up to 10k$+ MRR, which is often the milestone in the indiehacker community.
Define your project and your Most Valuable Product
First of all, if you don't have a product yet, you should try as much as possible to validate your idea with no-code tools or at very low cost. One of the common mistake is to hire developers and work on a very complex product, which cost time/money and leads to failure.
Narrow the scope of your product and make sure you reduce the amount of tech work to the minimum until you have market confirmation.
If you don't feel confident enough in no-code tools or low-development tasks, invest in your learning so you get at least a grasp of what it takes to build a SaaS from the engineering side.
Market confirmation is people paying for your product.
It's better to manually sell whatever you wanna sell than having a complex app that no one pays for. It may sound obvious, but this is the most number one mistake made by founders (even technical ones).
Scaling development and finding developers
Development should only come after you have confirmed there is an actual need for your product.
Usually, after this point, you will need to have a developer working at least part time on your product because there is simply too much to do than you can proceed yourself.
The critical point is to work with someone you trust and can deliver well.
It doesn't really matter which technology is used, but make sure this person has some experience in building products and is able to grasp what matters in your business area. Each hour passed writing code should deliver value for your customers and your developer should understand that.
Another common mistake is engineers willing to experiment or have fun with the code and losing sight of the product requirements.
It often leads to overcomplicate products, or worse, useless features.
Techies should help you determine how best translate product requirements to code, not produce code for the sake of it.
Avoid traditional developers agencies, it often costs a lot, and look for freelancers/agencies as a service with product experience able to deliver fast.
At some point, the developer should be able to produce and deliver without much help from you, which means you must be able to explain properly what you need and let the production be done.
A killer mistake is non-tech founders willing to dive too much in the tech, with no benefits.
Focus on growing the company
During the development time, your main goal should be to promote and drive growth and you should not waste time on anything else.
Avoid unnecessary meetings or calls and look for your customers.
You probably already have knowledge and skills you can highlight. Sometimes it's easier to discover sales or communication field instead of tech for a non-tech founder.
One of the most killer mistake I've seen being made is how far founders can lost themselves in useless tasks, not related to growth.
If you follow those general rules, and assuming your product have a real need, you should be on the right track 😊