If you were sent back in time to 2011 and were given $10 million to invest in 10 companies, 7/10 of the companies you would have picked would be a tech company. The other 3 would be Bitcoin, Tesla, and SpaceX. Incidentally even these companies are created by ‘Tech Founders’. If you were sent back in time to 2011 and were given $0, maybe you would have taken up a computer science course and learnt to code. That way you could have shipped 100s of apps, hoping 1 of them will make you the next Zuckerberg. But time travel hasn’t been invented yet and you don’t know how to code. You took up a ‘non-tech’ role in a stable company, bought a car, took a trip to Ibiza, filled your house with ‘stuff’, got married, had kids, and chilled with friends on the weekends. Then came CoVID-19 and once again the ‘tech boys of Silicon Valley’ filled their coffers while you were making Dalgona coffee. It’s not that you don’t want to start a tech business, it’s just that you don’t know how to code. Here’s a little wake-up call for you: DON’T KNOW HOW TO CODE? NO PROBLEM. NO CODE IS HERE FOR YOU!!

    What is this No Code that you speak of?

    A no code development platform is a tool for building software applications without coding; a popular and promising alternative to traditional software development for non-technical business users hoping to build their own full-fledged applications.

    If you are a small business that lacks the budget to hire a software developer or outsource to a software development house, no code platforms move the power of innovation into the hands of your entire organisation.

    Using a no code platform, you can equip more of your workforce with the tools they require to become citizen developers. Business developers and other non-programmer roles can step in to meet the demands of faster application delivery, building business, web and mobile applications on their own.

    The above three paragraphs are copied word-to-word from Cobebots. There are countless such articles on the internet. Someone has already done the hard work of explaining it in layman’s terms, so why increase your workload of writing the same thing again? This is exactly what no code does. 

    When you build on a no code platform, you are building with code, you simply don’t have to do any coding. No code platforms have pre-built drag-and-drop elements that have been coded for reuse and scale.

    A no code development platform is essentially a user interface builder, where you can rapidly drag-and-drop every web page together, and instantly see how it will look on mobile, tablet and desktop. Using visual models replaces the complexity of coding, allowing you to manage your data easily.

    Examples of no code platforms (the list is non-exhaustive): 

    1. Food/Gorecy ordering like Zomato/Swiggy/UberEats/Groffers/BigBasket: Yelo
    2. Delivery management like BlueDart/Delhivery/Rivigo/1mg: Tookan
    3. Online video consultation for Doctors (like Practo) or E-Learning like (Vedantu): Panther

    Note: It will be your product as your tech partner would ‘White-Label’ it for you. Also, you would be able to track everything with countless analytics and reports which will keep you ahead of your competition.

    What if I need to customize my No Code Product?

    A major misconception with no code applications is that they are only for simple apps. This is not the case. In a rapidly evolving technological age, no code application builders have become extremely sophisticated to support rich functionality in all apps, in order to meet business demands. It is now possible to build many end-to-end enterprise applications using a no code platform

    But every business is solving the problem in a unique way. Zomato and Swiggy are focussing on different things in the same food delivery domain. Every E-learning platform has its own unique value proposition. Amazon and Flipkart are two very different offerings in the same e-commerce segment. Hence you need to customize your product to what your customers want. This can be done in two very simple ways without learning to code.

    1. Hire in-house developers
    2. Outsource the customization to your tech partner 

    This is a big business decision and you need to evaluate the pros and cons of these options. A few key points to consider would be:

    1. Costs: Which would be more economical? Historically outsourcing has been more cost-effective (especially if you are in the US, EU, or the Middle East). Outsourcing is paying for results rather than paying for salaries, training, development tools, etc. This is of course unless you choose the wrong tech partner.
    2. Communication: How effectively would you be able to ensure there is no miscommunication?
    3. Level of Quality Control: You don’t know to code. How would you evaluate the results of your own team? 
    4. Information Confidentiality: A NDA is definitely getting signed. The question is with whom?
    5. Level of Commitment: If in-house team fails, they are fired. If outsourcing partner fails, their reputation is tarnished. Which one do you want to pick?
    6. Considering Long-Term Plans: What is your long-term plan? Are you planning on a long-term development project? Will you have a consistent task long-term for your team? 

    If you are getting your no code platform from an organization (as mentioned in the previous section), there is a 100% chance that they would be there to support you for your customization needs as well.

    A tip here: Even if you outsource, hire a couple of coders, title them Product Managers and let them verify the project timelines with your tech partner. 

    I don't know how to run ads. How would I scale it?

    If you are thinking that after building your product all you need to do to scale it is running ads on every screen and every platform, you are in big big trouble. You are running a business to put money in your pockets, not the advertisers like Google/Facebook. And let’s say that you do have the budget to run ads, where are you going to get the creatives from? How often would you edit a video, photoshop an image, post them in a specific format for every social media platform, ensure every piece of content is SEO friendly, run the analytics to optimize the ad spend (ROAS),  cite blogs like this, reply to mean comments on Twitter, etc? Wait, what! You don’t know how SEO works? Then how will you propagate your product? Seriously, you need Jesus! Or maybe not. This is the moment where you learn about Marketing as a Service a.k.a. MaaS.

    Forbes article ‘The Future Of Marketing Is Marketing As A Service would probably turn up if you google search ‘Marketing as a Service’. Please don’t read that. It’s probably the worst article ever written on that topic. It’s probably up there because of good SEO by Forbes. If you really want to read that Forbes article, click here and judge for yourself. If you are back, let’s move on with MaaS.

    Marketing as a Service (MaaS) is designed to support your marketing efforts through a synthesis of strategy and implementation. Different marketing needs are going to have different priorities and need customized support based on their unique objectives. Your MaaS partner would provide tailored strategies and tactics to succeed with your business objectives and marketing challenges, for example:

    • Are you looking to set up and personalize your email campaigns?
    • Maybe you need to run different campaigns on different platforms, along with countless creatives?
    • Or perhaps you need help onboarding new customers by SEO/SEM/Ads?

    In the past, you would spend three months hiring the perfect candidates, another six months getting them fully immersed in their new position, and likely have to do it all over again with just a few short years when that employee either leaves for a new opportunity or gets promoted into another position. But with a MaaS provider, you can tap into whatever expertise you need at the time and go to market with strong campaigns quickly and effectively. In essence, your MaaS provider becomes a vital extension of your marketing department. Consider MaaS as no code marketing.

    Note: Read more about MaaS here and here.

    You missed a few points and I have a lot of queries...

    Now you know how to set up a tech business without writing a line of code. Let me summarize it in three simple steps:

    • Use a no code platform for creating your product,
    • Get your tech partner to customize it according to your revenue-generating customers’ needs, and
    • Hire a marketing agency to reach out to a wide audience via email marketing, SEO optimization, and digital ads. 

    Don’t wait for six months to pass to think I should have done that six months ago. If right now, you are thinking that starting a tech business is a good idea, start today. If you need more clarification on no code platforms, I am here. If you have doubts regarding MaaS, I am here.

    Note: In case you are looking for a Product Management course, I would highly recommend joining this cohort-based course – ISB Executive Education – Product Management program

    PS: You can connect with me for review or referral discount (link for referral discount)

    Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer (if any)

    When I am not working/watching movies/reading books/traveling, you can reach me via my Twitter/LinkedIn or you can contact me here

    Categories: Product Management