There are two aspects of any business that an aspiring entrepreneur should take into consideration while starting a new venture: The business aspect, and the technical aspect. If you are an entrepreneur, you are probably well handling the business-related issues. So, what we are here to thoroughly discuss is the technical aspect. Even serial entrepreneurs who have already launched a number of successful businesses still struggle with the technical aspect of a business. This is normal simply because they are more marketing and business development-oriented individuals rather than technical. To each their own skills and what we absolutely love about entrepreneurs is that they know they have to get the best skilled people on their team. Remember that if you want to build a successful business, you have to be the dumbest person on your team. So, if you are the dumbest one and yet very smart, then you have a strong team which ensures a growing business.
The Cycle and How It Works
If you’re an entrepreneur who already started several businesses and are venturing in a new more challenging one, here’s what you usually do:
- You come up with an idea.
- You build a website maybe using WordPress to save money and not to spend too much on a developer from the start.
- Then you get a developer to fix the issues that you cannot code yourself.
If you’re building a very simple website similar to a custom theme for example, this would be enough. However, if you are building a more complex platform that involves API’s, a lot of data, and millions of visitors, then no developer could do this on his own. You need to have a proper step-by-step process in place to get optimal results. This process would take you from launching your website all the way to succeeding and making money. Here’s what we advise you to do:
- Hire a wireframe designer.
A wireframe is basically a mockup of how your website would look like, but without colors. This step is important because as an entrepreneur, you constantly get many different ideas simultaneously and therefore need to get those ideas sketched in order to identify what you want as a start and clarify your requirements. So instead of writing a 15-page document, simply hire a designer through Upwork to do this for $10 or $15/hour. If you want to be a bit more diligent, draw your sketches on paper before sending them to the designer.
- Show the wireframe design to potential clients.
Based on their feedback, you would modify and make necessary changes. This is important because you would be building something that the market wants before spending money on coding. Some people start by coding, then get feedback and start modifying accordingly. However, this is a waste of time and money.
- Create your design.
Once the wireframes are ready and you got the feedback of potential clients, start by creating your design. Choose the colors and decide where you want to place blocks. Once your designs are ready, especially if it’s a complex product, prepare a word document where you list the different pages of the app and explain what happens on each one in a few details. For example: “On this page, the user registers, gets a confirmation link, etc…”
- Send it to a developer for a quotation. By doing the above steps, you make sure the developer cannot make assumptions and thus cannot add more hours, more features or more functionality because it’s all clear. The objective of this entire process is to be as certain as possible and eliminate variables and risks.
- Hire your developer.
Once you are ready to hire a developer, don’t go for the first developer you find. You want someone who is a cultural fit. This means you want someone who understands you and who would put the same energy in the project. For example, Indians are ruling the world when it comes to technology, but some people can’t work with them because the way they think is different. They just get the work done. Meanwhile, we believe you should go for someone who is driven, who takes decisions, and who doesn’t have a laid-back attitude. Eastern European developers like Russians and Ukrainians are good recommendations, but they can be expensive. They can charge up to $40/hour or more. However, you can always find someone with the same skill level at a less price like $20. This is where the process of eliminating the variables comes into place. It also helps in reducing developing costs because you know exactly what you need and who you can hire.
How to Hire the Right Person
Now we have the development process, the designs, and the description of what needs to be coded. All we still need is the right person to do the job. Here’s some hiring process tips to hire the best candidate:
- Write a job description that speaks to your ideal candidate.
Be genuine about who you want on your team. For example: “I’m building a product that will make a change and I want someone who is enthusiastic about this topic, etc.…” You will attract the same energy you reflect in your post. Therefore, be as authentic as possible and you will attract the most suitable candidate.
- Check what candidates write.
When you start the process of eliminating candidates, read carefully what they send you. Keep an eye out for those with bad English and those not answering your questions. For instance, if you ask them to share with you the best website they worked on and explain why, the worst answers would be:
- “Let’s discuss this over a call.” You wouldn’t want to waste your time over a call unless it’s with a candidate you think is right for you.
- They send you a bunch of links that they copy and paste on each job post. You asked for one.
- They send a link without explaining why they consider it their best website. The point behind your request was to get to know how they think.
Experienced people do exist on hiring platforms and at different hourly rates. You just have to know exactly what you’re looking for. We prefer Upwork where you can find a skilled developer for $40/hour, while you would find someone with the same skill level on TopTal charging $120 or more.
As an entrepreneur, you might feel a bit lost and need help in technical hiring. Feel free to reach out to us or any professional who can help you because it would save you a lot of time and money.
- Find someone who worked with people like you.
If you are running a startup, you want developers who have worked with startups rather than with Fortune 500 Companies since the culture is very different. With Fortune 500 Companies, you have many processes and systems in place that you have to follow, which limits creativity. This is not necessarily bad, it’s just there because the company has grown a lot and needs to systematize itself. An employee writing code might be working on one module as part of a big project of 50 modules, and that’s all they work on for a whole year.
Whereas when it comes to startups, it’s totally different. You will want to be the system administrator, the developer, the split tester, the marketer, the software tester, sometimes the designer, etc. The type of people who work in startups are very different than those working with Fortune 500 companies. So, if you’re a startup, or a serial entrepreneur, go for someone who has experience with startups.
- Pay your developer in milestones.
Don’t pay them based on hourly rate because there’s no limit to it. Either set a limit of hours not to exceed and let them handle the difference if they do, or tell them you need this on a milestone basis. Split the project into 5 to 10 parts and pay them every time a part is done.
In your job post, you can mention an hourly rate, and in the negotiations phase, suggest the payment strategy to be based on milestones. Most candidates would agree because they want the job and are already engaged discussing the project with you. In case they refuse, tell them you’re on a budget and you have a limited number of hours. Ask them how much time they need and if they say 100 hours, add 10 to 20 additional hours and be clear that any cost above that will be covered by them, while you agree not to change anything in the specifications. If they refuse, this means they are bad developers because any good developer would know how to estimate time properly.
In case you get another idea and decide to change anything in the agreement during the project, you tell them what you want to modify and ask them how much additional time it would take. If they ask for a lot of time, then ask them to break it down for you, specifying how much time each feature will take. This will give you the sort of transparency you need, and the developer won’t be able to get away with unreasonable numbers.
- Once you decide to launch, get a software tester.
Their job is to break the website through ultimate tools like coding, and through manual testing. He has a variety of devices like 10 different phones, 20 different browsers, and 3 operating systems. Do you want to waste your time as an entrepreneur doing that? I don’t think so. And besides, they are not that expensive. You can find a senior software tester for $15/hour and if it’s a small project, it takes 10 to 20 hours. So, we highly encourage you to do that before launching.
There you go, ready to venture in a new business! If you already have started several businesses and are aware of what it takes, stay tuned for the next article where we’ll be discussing tips on how to build a strong foundation at the beginning of your project to speed up the whole process. All we can say for now is that it’s all about investing in advance in your platform to make it more scalable and knowing your market’s need. We’ll be explaining how you can prepare your platform to be scalable right from the start!