Finding the right programmer or team to build a startup app is one of the biggest challenges non-technical startup founders face in the early stages of a startup. According to a Glassdoor survey, software engineering is one of the best paying and most demanded skills. This is good news for non-technical founders as more and more professionals are learning and mastering programming skills. But at the same time, it represents a challenge.
Building software can be expensive. To build a web or mobile app, sometimes you need to hire more than one engineer which adds more to the development cost. And if you don’t have the needed technical skills to evaluate and judge programmers’ performance, it may take you months and tens of thousands of dollars until you realize it’s time to let go and make new hires.
Follow these steps to find the right fit and increase the probability of success of your partnership.
- You Need Entrepreneurial Programmers
It’s not hard to find a team or someone who can write code, what’s challenging is connecting with a programmer who can help you build a startup not just an app. The first step is to know who you are looking for.
Entrepreneurial programmers tend to be active in business and startup communities. While many are open to taking new projects, they are usually building side projects and have startups of their own. If you are looking for a co-founder, hiring an entrepreneurial programmer is the fastest way to turning an employment opportunity into a co-founding relationship.
Many agencies excel at and are more comfortable with turning an idea into a product with many features and functionalities. It’s the build it and they will come approach. In most cases, the product may work well but the market needs something different. By the time you build again, your resources may have been exhausted.
To minimize risk of failure, optimize your budget and increase the chances of building the right product, you are better off building smaller versions of the product quickly and repetitively in response to customer feedback. For this, you need an entrepreneurial programmer or team who can also help you define and prioritize features. Then build and release quickly.
- Remember Why You Want To Build A Startup
Ideally and logically, to increase the chances that a startup will succeed, entrepreneurs must fully commit to it. The reality is, not every startup founder is willing to fully commit to the venture. This feels like a taboo topic in the startup world. Isn’t every startup founder supposed to hustle and work countless hours for years to make a difference in the world and as a result build wealth?
The point is, not enough entrepreneurs ask why they want to build a startup. The answer will help you determine your true motive. You may realize you are looking for a way to make more money or make a bigger impact and build authority or other reasons. For example, I advised many successful small business owners whose main goal from launching a startup is to grow their existing businesses with a scalable business model.
This is important and relevant to your hiring decision. If you are fully committed, spend your time talking to potential users, building prototypes, selling or preselling the product even if you lack the technical skills to build it. In the meanwhile, engage actively in local and online communities and help members overcome their challenges. Finding the right fit will be much easier when you brand yourself as a contributor to those groups. Soon, many entrepreneurs with complementary skills will want to work and partner with you.
If you want to build a startup as a side hustle, first and foremost, focus on taking actions that are more likely to help you move towards your goals. Some mistakes cannot be avoided but the fewer mistakes you make, the faster you can move. A mentor can help clarify your path. For instance, hiring can be overwhelming so it can feel as if available candidates are the only and best option out there. Hiring the wrong person or team can cost a lot of money and time. A mentor can help you find and select the right person for the job. Obviously, it goes without saying that entrepreneurs who are building a startup full-time should also get the assistance of a mentor.
Having defined your goals from launching a startup, here are the hiring channels you should consider in addition to engaged communities.
- Don’t Limit Yourself To Freelancing Marketplaces
Freelancing sites include a lot of talented people. Nowadays, you also find niche sites focused on different backgrounds and expertise whether you are looking for programmers, designers, marketers or other skills. This should be one of the channels. The best teammates I have personally ever worked with came outside of freelancing sites.
Referrals are powerful. A simple tweet, LinkedIn or Facebook post sharing your goals and asking people for referrals will help you get in front of the right candidate sooner. People are always open to referring others they trust even if they don’t know you as long as you convey trust and honest intentions.
- Evaluate The Fit
The simplest way to evaluate programmer/product fit is by looking at whether they have built similar products or features. While the portfolio doesn’t predict programmers’ potential in building new and completely different products, it gives you a simple benchmark for the relevance of their expertise to your idea.
If you would like to be more specific and technical in your job proposal or pitch, research and add the technology stack your competitors used to build their products. In fact, if eventually any of those competitors considers acquiring your startup, one of the first questions they ask is, how easy is it to integrate or unite our product with yours? You can find the tech stack of your competitors at a site like StackShare.
Finally, and most importantly, use a testing or roadmapping period to evaluate the work relationship. The goal is to minimize risk by failing quickly. If the partnership doesn’t work out, it’s best if you know it sooner.
- Learn The Language
Entrepreneurs may be experts in their own domain whether it is marketing, finance, operation, software engineering or other fields, but for leaders to thrive, they need to communicate effectively in every field. Startup founders don’t need to be experts in every area but must at least understand common and important terms in all the fields related to the business. Here are 91 startup terms every entrepreneur should know.
One of the most valuable assets in a startup, especially in the early days, is the team behind it. When you make a hiring decision, think about what will happen when the product is built. Building the product is one small step in the journey. The iterations, pivots and sometimes complete changes of direction entail a committed and open team.
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #thisisnotapost #thisisart