Do Entrepreneurs Need Coding Skills to Start a Business?

A.T. Gimbel shares three important areas to focus on when starting a business without coding skills.

A.T. Gimbel
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November 7, 2019

You don’t need coding skills to start a successful business. Here’s how to do it without them.

One common question I hear from first time entrepreneurs is do I need coding skills to start a business? Without a technical background, the concept of writing code to build a product scares them. While having some knowledge is helpful, do not let your inability to code prevent you from starting a business. Here are three areas to focus on when starting a business without coding skills.

Have deep knowledge of the problem

Most important is that you have done customer discovery to make sure you truly understand the problem and potential solution. Knowing this allows you to be much more focused on how you solve the problem. Whether you can code or not, you can waste a lot of time and money building solutions that do not solve a must-have customer problem. Instead, be the expert on the problem so that you can best focus and guide the product development. This also allows you to keep laser-focused on solving that customer problem versus creating technically “cool” features.

Find the right partners

If you do not know how to code, you want to find some trusted partners. This could be a CTO/Co-founder, a junior engineer/student to help you build an MVP, or a trusted advisor that can help navigate the development process. Be cautious of blindly outsourcing all your work to an untrusted third-party engineering firm … I have seen many horror stories of sunk money on wasted product. Here are two recent conversations with entrepreneurs I had; unfortunately these stories are fairly common!

  • Spent tens of thousands of dollars on an MVP only to quickly shut it down because it was not solving a problem
  • Spent tens of thousands of dollars on an MVP that had no technical backbone and was having problems getting further changes made or access to the code to transition internally

Available resources

Even without knowing how to code, there are plenty of resources out there to help you learn enough to be dangerous. This allows you to better ask questions and support engineers in building product. Furthermore, there are many great resources to test early traction without requiring lots of code, if any at all. A few popular tools are Webflow, Glide, and Integromat plus there are many more resources including coding bootcamps and courses on Udemy.

Don’t let a lack of coding knowledge stop you from starting a business. Instead, really become an expert on the problem, find the right partners to balance your skillset, and leverage all the great resources available to make you proficient to supervise the development process and test a basic solution.