by Rosie Allabarton
Founding your own startup isn’t easy, as anyone will tell you. But as an entrepreneur without tech skills, you are setting yourself up for a fall. I’m not saying that, as a founder, you must also be your company’s CTO and head engineer. What I am saying is, that as a founder of a startup, having tech skills will give you a host of advantages in a tech environment when it comes to hiring, updating or maintaining your site and managing your team that, without these skills, you may find an uphill struggle.
Staying true to your brand
You have sweated blood and tears over your company’s brand positioning, ideals, values, mission and voice. These are all essential components to founding a startup, and consistency between these elements is crucial to your customer base who want to know not just what you are offering and how they can get their hands on it, but the sort of people they are buying from. Remember You Are Your Brand. People aren’t just interested in buying your products, they’re interested in buying into a lifestyle, an idea or a person. Essentially, YOU.
Which is why a skillfully designed website for your business is so crucial: this is your advertisement to the world to tell them who you are, what you do, and why you’re so much better than everything else out there.
But a mistake many entrepreneurs make is, rather than learning to build or design a website for themselves, they hire someone else to do the job for them.
Their business, that they have worked so long and hard over, they hand over to someone who knows nothing about it, its values, branding or the kind of audience they are hoping to attract.
Your newly-hired developer knows nothing about why you had that great idea that you couldn’t stop telling people about, why it meant so much to you and why it propelled you to start your own business in the first place. How could they possibly know? They have simply been hired to do a job. Not only that, but without programming skills, you don’t even know if they’re the right person for the job! But we will get to that later.
Now of course a great developer could incorporate your ideas into a website, but it would not have your personal stamp on it. However, if you were able to work alongside your developer, and had an understanding of what is and isn’t possible to code, then your brand, product and values that you have worked so hard to refine would be evident everywhere on that website, ensuring that your brand remains exactly that, your brand.
Maintenance and updates
With coding skills in the bank, as the founder of a small business, you would no longer have to rely on an external developer for small fixes and updates. Having initially observed how your site was put together (by working directly with a senior developer when your site was being built), the smaller jobs that can be both costly and time-consuming when outsourced, you could easily take on yourself, saving both time and a lot of money.
When building your site with a developer you would be able to communicate with ease over applications, pop ups, content, page loading times and the UX of the site to not only get your brand across exactly as you envisioned it, but all the while learning how your site is being put together. This makes the process of maintaining and updating it yourself later on a lot easier.
We’re not saying that having the skills to code necessarily makes you qualified to build your own professional website, but what we are saying is that, with these skills and a deeper understanding of how programming works, you will no longer have to outsource every small problem. When you are in control of fixing your own website you have a much clearer idea of timeframes and it won’t cost you anything except your time.
Make hiring easier
Hiring developers for your startup can be a tricky business if you are not up to date on the latest coding languages, technologies and software. Not to mention tech jargon. With your programming knowledge you’ll be in a much stronger position to interview candidates for future web developer positions within your startup: you’ll be able to quickly differentiate between the good and the great and, crucially, you’ll know the right questions to ask. With your knowledge of coding you’ll save a lot of time when sifting through applications and GitHub accounts as you’ll have more of an idea of what you’re looking for and when you ask your candidates to demonstrate their worth you will know if what you’re being shown is up to scratch.
Which tech skills have you found most valuable when establishing your startup? Let’s start the discussion in the comments below.
Rosie Allabarton is a writer who lives in Berlin. Her journalism specializes in technology, startups, education and employment. She works as a tech writer and content manager for CareerFoundry, an online educational platform that provides training in web development and UX design, providing career changers with the skills they need to launch themselves onto the tech scene.
For more great articles for entrepreneurs on technology and education, please visit blog.careerfoundry.com
Tech Cocktail | Courtesy of Rosie Allabarton