• Learn on your own. This can take forever as you will be making mistakes as you develop — there is a steep learning curve at times. It also may be expensive to bring in the expertise as the project grows. But this option may be done in conjunction with the other options, creating a better team dynamic because everyone will be speaking the same language and you will understand that “just add this one little thing” may put the product two weeks behind schedule. I know several entrepreneurs who became developers or designers out of frustration from being dependent on others to realize their vision — it takes time but the payoff is better communication with your team, stronger strategic design and architecture skills, and a higher value proposition to investors. Questions: In self-assessing your capabilities, do you have the aptitude for coding, designing, etc? Do you want to be able to be the expert in your offering from both a business and technical vantage? Does the business have a window of opportunity that may allow for slower market entry?
“You get what you pay for” is oft quoted for a reason. Until Google Translator can help a non-tech founder properly convey his scope of work well to techies, spend the time to clearly define the vision and product offerings so your resources are used building your dream rather than living a nightmare.
• Launch Pad Tech Accelerator application deadline is Nov. 5: Do you have a startup in healthcare, travel/hospitality, or creative fields such as music, design, film, advertising or art? The accelerator is offering a $25,000 grant, office space for a year, and a structured program with mentoring and support. Details at www.launchpadtech.co
Susan Amat is co-founder and executive director of The Launch Pad at the University of Miami, which has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs develop skills, make connections and launch businesses. She also leads Startup Florida.