Travis Kalanick, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates were programming geniuses that grew flourishing online businesses.
Nonetheless: I don’t think you need to be techy to start and grow a business online.
In fact I’ll go further than that: the tech isn’t even that important.
Of course it means you can’t code your technology yourself. You’ll need to rely on experts. And that will usually make it more expensive.
But at the end of the day, a flourishing business relies on fundamentals that go beyond the technology. I’m talking about costs, revenues, customer service and happy employees. And that’s the stuff that you should be concentrating on.
So if you’re not a born coder, here’s what I think you can do:
Focus on selling
Your business will only exist because you make money.
The business should address people’s problems. As the founder you need to be the most passionate advocate of the solution.
You need to be able to wax lyrical about how great your product and service is. Your USPs should be on the tip of your tongue. No one should know better than you about why your business is great.
And its not just about getting new customers. You need to keep telling existing customers and your own employees about the benefits of what you do. It’s about having an unshakable belief in your business
Understand your customer’s problem
Your customer should lie at the heart of your business. Not you. Or your products.
Knowing who the customer is and what problems they’re facing doesn’t require you to be technical. In actual fact this is probably how the idea for your business was born. Seeing how you could help someone do what they wanted to do.
The most important job for you is to know the customer and keep their needs in focus.
It’s important to continually listen so you’re aware when those needs evolve.
That means meeting your customers, asking them questions, sending them a survey. And then absorbing that feedback, ensuring your services stay relevant.
Show what you mean
Although you can’t code, you need to be able to demonstrate what you mean with visuals. A picture is worth a 1,000 words.
That might be to new employees, or even your customers.
There are some brilliant tools for you to take advantage of, for free. Design is no longer a locked-up specialty.
Microsoft Paint is great for a screen-grab. With Powerpoint you can animate your visual.
I’ve found Snagit invaluable for cutting, pasting and demonstrating. You can even do video screen-capture too. Its not free but at least has a free trial.
Canva is an incredible tool that anyone can use to create designer-grade mock-ups, ads, and brochureware for free.
Try these tools and show what you mean. You’ll be amazed at how your communication improves.
Master other DIY tools
And if you can manage those, there are hundreds of other easy to use tools that allow a non-techy to master tasks previously owned by the geeks.
We can see the proof of this at 123-reg. There are thousands of customers who don’t know CSS from HTML. But they’ve all built beautiful websites.
These same people understand why their website isn’t ranking on Google, and what they can do about it. That’s because there’s an easy to use tool that does that.
You don’t need to be technical, but you still need to put the effort in. Nothing comes without a bit of elbow grease.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that online business is a nerd-only activity.
By focusing on the sale, demonstrating your ideas, understanding the customer, and using great tools, you will add far more value to your business.