Building an MVP for your startup when you’re non technical

A very common problem that many startup founders face –especially if they are non technical- is how to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). I do not claim to be an expert, but I have advised several people about that. So I thought I’d write this down hoping it will help someone out there. My advice pertains mainly to the software domain, however, it should work for any domain as well.


I will assume that you have already validated your idea, and hence want to validate it further by building an MVP. Mostly I advise to not waste resources trying to build something you still could not / did not sell.

The way I see it, there are 3 options. Each comes with its own pros and cons. I can try helping you see them, and you can decide for yourself:

  1. Learn to code and do it yourself.
  2. Pay someone to do it.
  3. Find a tech cofounder.

1. Learn to Do It Yourself:

You would be in complete control. Over the company and the product.Time. You will have to spend a lot of time learning to do it.
It will probably require a lot of rework, since you may lack the experience.

2. Pay someone to do it.

You alone own your company (so far). Although you need to protect it with NDA’s and what not.Not only do you have to find someone good and trustworthy.
Once you’re past the MVP stage, unless you hired someone and did not give the project to a freelancer, maintainability would be hard.
You’ll still need to coordinate everything with them and make sure they understand ur vision, otherwise the implementation and ur vision could go in different directions.

3. Finding a -good- cofounder:

You get someone who can actually help you plan your product, not just code it.It’s really hard to find someone good and trustworthy, AND sell them on the idea.
(S)he can help you will all future tech decisions. Its not a one off collaboration.You’ll have to do some legal stuff, to make sure your rights are preserved.
As far as I know, many investors would rather have 2-3 cofounders instead of just 1.You’ll especially need to account for the risk if the person you chose, is either not good, or not trustworthy. Hence, the legal stuff.


Having said that. Let me give you my recommendation, which is by no means an expert advice, but rather an advice from my experience (guess that does make it expert advice, even though I wouldn’t call myself an expert)

  1. IF you already know someone who would be good and trustworthy as a cofounder, then try pitching it to them. But only after reading on the legal stuff and the cofounders agreements et al.
  2. If not, then once you decide on an MVP, then hire a freelancer or a student to do a prototype for you, so that you can use it in your pitches.
  3. Once you start selling, then either hire someone, or look again for a cofounder, now you already have more leverage.

Please feel free to ask if you have more questions. Wish you all the best.

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