Business-to-business wholesale giant Alibaba connects importers with exporters around the globe. This network made Jack Ma the richest man in China.
Yet Jack Ma claims he had no technical knowledge when he started the company and didn’t even understand how a website worked. Now he competes directly with monsters like eBay and Amazon.
The story of Ali Baba shows that you can start a business in a technical field without a technical background. If you want a technical company, but don’t have the necessary training, there’s no reason to let that stop you from pursuing your dream.
All it takes is a plan and the dedication to follow through one step after the other. Here’s how you can start a high-technology business when you don’t have technical knowledge.
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Work With What You Do Know
You can use the skills you already have to get a head start.
- Research the market to determine if there’s a demand for your idea
- Identify your competition
- Determine your strengths and weaknesses versus your competition
- Figure out your target market and operating area
- Make a list of the skills you need
- Use the skills you have and hire people with the ones you don’t have
Research Your Chosen Field
You need to understand everything you can about the field you plan to enter. You don’t need to become a technical expert, but you do need to learn enough about technology to hire an expert.
Learn how the market works in your field. What factors determine the pricing? How does your competition find its customers? These are the kinds of things you need to know.
Take your time and research every angle of the industry in depth. This is how you’ll make yourself competitive without needing to learn how to do programming, web design, or database management.
Your team will handle these details. You’ll handle the team.
At this stage, organize all of the knowledge you’ve gained into a reference manual.
Use Your Newfound Knowledge
You’re going to need a team that can handle the day-to-day operations of the new business. You need a management team to work with you to manage the project workflow and the business itself.
If you don’t have business knowledge, hire a business manager, or secure a partner who has management experience.
You’ll need staff to handle secretarial and office work. Again, this can be a temporary hire, digital personal assistants you hire from Fiverr or Upwork, or someone who will perform these duties as a partner in the business.
You may have noticed that none of these are technically-oriented positions. That’s because first and foremost, you’re in business and you need to operate in a businesslike manner.
With staff and management ready to go and a solid business idea in place, you’re finally ready to bring some technical talent on board. These are the people who are going to do your IT, programming, or other technical operations.
There are a few different ways to handle this:
- You can hire by the task. Using online freelancing sites or shopping local temporary staffing, pay for each task as it’s needed.
You could even make this a business product and broker services for other businesses that need IT, programming, or web work and act as a middleman between them and the freelancers you find.
Create a digital media agency by outsourcing your writers, artists, and tech professionals to make the best use of everyone’s time.
- You can hire a few multi-talented workers and pay them well. The same person might double as your IT expert and your programmer. Website developers are also frequently well-versed in graphics. Writers often double as SEO experts in this approach.
- You can bring on a heavyweight specialist with a computer science degree to manage this aspect of the company as a partner, offloading product development, IT requirements, and website management to that partner while you and your team manage the business and marketing.
Some of this can be streamlined in the early phases, using a DIY website builder like WIX and learning some of the easier aspects of computer graphics work or do the writing yourself.
Develop an App
One way to start an IT business is to create and sell mobile apps, even if you don’t have the first clue about coding.
If you have an idea that you think might be a hit on the market, you don’t need to do the coding yourself. As with any of the endeavors mentioned above, you can hire freelance developers to do that job for you, while you take care of finer aspects, such as marketing and sales.
A mobile app can be both a product that you offer to customers and an integral part of your business operations.
There are billions of people online with their phones and an app will put your business on the map. They’re relatively easy to develop now, and your previously assembled team might be capable of developing an app in-house.
An app for internal operations can save money, time and wasted effort by allowing the team to stay in contact, manage customer relations, and maintain reporting from the field back to the management and staff.
A mobile app can be a great way for customers to find out about your company, order services, and maintain contact with your support department.
All you need is the right idea and some helpful advice.
Sell your idea
Now it’s finally time to realize your dream.
You’ve got the team in place, you know the market, and you’ve got some great product ideas. Turn your skilled people loose. Start making phone calls, write guest articles, get reviews by offering beta testing and pro bono jobs for non-profits.
Buy advertising, and most of all, do great work. Great results sell themselves and you’ll go far with a good team and deep research.