I’m an ex-Google software engineer, and so far, I’ve written 100% of the code for Shopify apps in my business myself. I love computer science, and think about coding almost all the time. But even still, I found myself wondering yesterday – how would I be running my business if I didn’t know how to code? The answer was clear – I’d be running it a lot differently.
If I were a non-technical founder, I wouldn’t see coding as the solution to every problem. Programmers tend to see writing more code as the hammer for every nail. Non-technical founders don’t have this luxury. For them, adding even a single line of new code to their business is an expense. So, they have to build their business around strong sales and marketing instead.
Sales and marketing are the engine that drive a business, not code. Think about it – how many times have you seen mediocre software that pulls in 7 figures or more of annual recurring revenue? Do you really think that the reason those businesses are successful is because the founders wrote a lot of code themselves?
Even if you’re the best programmer of all time, coding on its own will rarely produce a return on investment, unless you’re working a full-time job. It isn’t until sales and marketing are bringing paying users to your software, that you start to see the fruits of your labor. So, err on the side of saying “no” to feature requests, and avoid adding any new code to your app unless it’s a bug fix.
In the hands of a smart engineer, sales and marketing are a lethal weapon. We’ve honed our skills over the years, to the point of being able to solve almost any problem, given enough information and time. So the more you know about your target market and its problems, the more likely it is that you can solve those problems better than anyone non-technical in your niche.
When you learn crucial skills like content marketing, cold outreach, or email marketing, you can scale your problem-solving skills and reach wider audiences than ever before. If you want to succeed in business as a technical founder, think like a non-technical founder.