from developer to founder

Starting your own business is always risky, but you have fewer chances of failure in case it’s not your first attempt (20% probability that things will go right) or if you have a success story behind your back (30% probability for the positive outcome). It means trying and getting your lumps is the common route if you’re eager to become a founder.

However, there’s another take for you. If you’re an experienced developer willing to create your software product, you have a competitive advantage—a technical background—allowing you to plan the process right and turn your expertise into profit. In this case, you might go all the long way to switch from developer to founder on your own or surround yourself with experts in marketing, sales, hiring, and development, to increase the success rate. 

The choice is evident, right? But you’re not alone! Let us help you become a startup founder with the tips and insights coming from our personal experience.

The developer-to-founder mindset shift

Whether you like it or not, if you want to become a successful CEO, you need to hold a lot of responsibility. That’s the contrast with being a developer—an individual performer who sees the results of their job more clearly. From now on, your operational tasks will pile up, and it’ll be harder to evaluate how the progress on your to-do list translates to overall performance.

However, there’s also a bright side. Being a startup founder means that you’re creating a product that belongs to you, not your clients. And that’s the key driver to motivate the shift from a developer to a founder.

Transitioning from coding to strategic thinking

How to become a founder? If you’re ready for this challenge, you first need to develop your strategic thinking. The key issue is to start spending your time not on writing the code but on digging into the problem you’re going to solve.

 Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my product idea worth transforming into a business? 
  • Does it serve to troubleshoot a particular problem?
  • Who might be interested in this solution? 
  • Where can people talk about this problem?
  • Is there anyone doing the same business? What do they offer?

This list can be expanded, but all the questions this or that way are leading you to understand the problem and listen to your potential customers. Take your time on this!

Cultivating leadership and vision for business growth

The next step in your path to becoming a successful startup founder is growing leadership and forming a business vision. In other words, it’s all about working for the company instead of working in a company, which starts with the questions of the kind ‘how can we become better?’

Being a leader also signifies a continuous reflection. Hence, you can develop a system of KPIs first for yourself:

  • Do we have referrals from previous clients? Or new leads?
  • Are the taxes paid on time?
  • Does our team grow qualitatively and quantitatively? 
  • Has the company received some awards or certifications?
  • Do we have an internal internship program to cultivate new talents? … etc.

Celebrate when you see something done right as there’s always room for improvement. Don’t be too strict with yourself.

Leveraging developer skills for market research

Don’t listen to those who advise you to build a worthy product and wait for the users to go for it themselves. That’s not how marketing works today, and the proof is that 22% of startups fail because of insufficient attention to marketing and 34% fail because of the wrong product-market fit.

In this regard, it becomes evident that you need an understanding of the market first. Though you can skill up yourself, it’s best to deliver the research tasks to those who are equipped with marketing knowledge. As a result, you’ll be more likely to make an efficient product development plan from scratch and modify it if needed.

Acquiring essential business management skills

Self-education in management is a must. For instance, you can get an MBA (Master of Business Administration), learn the basics of finance, and acquire the skill to read Cashflow, PnL, and Balance reports. 

Also, you need to constantly read business-related literature, attend conferences, and participate in training to get insights, practical tips, and helpful acquaintances. Possibly, you even may find a non-technical co-founder (CEO) and divide the responsibilities between the two. 

Effective strategies for startup funding

Another important step is to raise capital for your business, which can be done in multiple ways. Below, we’ll cover the most widespread startup funding strategies—carry on to get the basics.

Tips for developer-founders from Patternica

With the help of Patternica, you shouldn’t do all the job yourself. We can gather a dedicated team and provide full-cycle IT support for your project—from market research to the product release. Contact us to discuss the idea that sparkles you! 

But before you go, let us supply you with a few tips coming from Patternica’s experience:

  • Don’t underestimate the role of sales and marketing. It’s much more crucial than the code quality. The latter doesn’t affect the number of users who bought the product.
  • The tech stack that you know can be a wrong choice for your project. Leave it to the experienced architect to decide which technology suits your product and the problems it should solve for users.
  • Any idea should be demand-justified. As the product should release a particular user’s pain, test the extent of this problem before you start building the solution.
  • Make an effort to reach your TA through marketing. People need to know that your product has appeared, what for it exists, and how it can ease up their lives.
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