What all does a non-technical co founder do in a SaaS / Mobile application startup?

If you are non-technical co founder at a startup that’s primarily a consumer web / SaaS or Mobile application company, there’s only ONE thing you should be focused on:

A plan to acquire, nurture and grow users (customers) with as little money as possible.

With a caveat – you should not use any of your technical cofounder’s time (once a week update / meeting to discuss progress is okay) to achieve your goal. If you do that, it takes away from building the product.

Dont waste your time on “legal paperwork”, “office space hunting”, “attending networking events” or “talking to lots of people to get advice”.

User acquisition involves multiple steps that you need to do in a disciplined fashion:

1. Understand, document and verify your user segments / audience / customers (demographics, usage patterns, usage behavior, etc.)

2. Put a plan to create awareness with as little budget as possible. Make the assumption that as a startup you will have some time but no money.

3. Document who are the key influencers (bloggers, reporters, analysts, etc.) you need to get in front of and when / where you plan to meet them to talk about your product.

4. Plan a content marketing strategy (blog posts, infographics, surveys, slide share presentations, videos, etc.) that will consistently help you build lots of content to help grow your organic traffic from search results.

5. Learn how to build, manage and grow a community of users to help build a great fan following for your company.

You can call this anything you please – Marketing, Hustling, Selling, Community building, User acquisition, etc.

Each of these are very measurable.

1. How many visitors came to your site?
2. What were the sources of your visitor traffic – blogs, organic search etc.
3. How many are repeat visitors, versus first time?

Nothing else matters. In fact if you do a great job at this, you will be as valuable as your technical co founder.

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9 thoughts on “What all does a non-technical co founder do in a SaaS / Mobile application startup?”

  1. Dont waste your time on “legal paperwork”, “office space hunting”, “attending networking events” or “talking to lots of people to get advice”.

    That is what the mind drifts towards in the name of “adding value” and it takes conscious effort to focus on what one needs to focus on.

    You have summarized the essence superbly. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mukund, Post seemed, i was reading my day to day work log 🙂
    I try to keep my tech co-founder wired as much as possible through out the week.

  3. Nice post. I have seen cases of non-tech cofounders trying to help out with code. They had all the right intentions but it didn’t really help in providing impetus to the startup

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