Developers February 22, 2020

How can I run my SaaS as a non-technical founder?

saiif2014

Hi,

i am working on a SaaS and i hired a developer for it, my question is when the project is completed can i run the SaaS by my self or do i need a technical guy to run for me?

i use digital ocean cloud, does this also need some maintenance?

  1. 6

    It'll never be finished. Even if you only focus on sales, you'll always need a developer to fix bugs. Yesterday, my bigquery tables got deleted from a client and all data got lost. Same happened to my MYSQL DB for WordPress on DO. If something like that happens, are you immediately able to fix it yourself?

    And clients are always very capable of finding that one thing that doesn't work properly and break it. That's a reason to have bug fixer too.

    In the end it depends on your product. But as it runs in the cloud and you have clients that don't treat the system the way you do, be prepared to have a developer on call at all times.

    If you're considering to keep developing the project you can't live without a developer. But that's saying the obvious.

    Michel

    1. 2

      I second this! Software products are never completed. You'll probably want new features or changes as customers use it. And even if you froze new features, bugs will start showing up the more users you get.

      It's probably not a great idea to run a software product without a technical person close. That being said, it might not be necessary to have someone permanently. If your product is stable enough, a tweak every now and then could be all you need. Really depends on each case

  2. 1

    If you have a good relationship with the developer, consider bringing them on as a minority cofounder on launch. While they're developing and you're spending money - your job should be to learn your stack. Part of managing is knowing what you're managing. So, do you know if the right architecture is being chosen by the dev? The right DB structure? Tenancy model? front end?

    As far as bang-for-buck, depending on what you're building, spend time learning 1) your front end stack, 2) enough design tools that you can wireframe exactly what you're trying to build (it can be a lot easier to show than explain how something is supposed to work - you can get a lot of mileage out of figma for the low cost of free getting started for this) and 3) your back end. The backend is probably the most important depending on the app, but it's also arguably the highest learning curve and so it may not be a great return for you as non-technical founder.

    Whether you keep working with this dev after launch, or hire a different team, you have to know what you're talking about, even if you can't necessarily build it yourself. You won't be able to run a complex SaaS app by yourself without technical knowledge, and you sure won't be able to pop up a roadmap and offer your users all those new features they're demanding, or frankly, even handle basic support tickets without some help. As the boss - get the knowledge so you know the people you get to help you with those things are doing what they need to.

    p.s. I'm a non-technical founder with a minority technical co-founder I'm currently paying so he can work full-time on our project and bring on additional help for sprints when needed. I'm teaching myself react in the meantime and have solved a few of our technical roadblocks. On the design side, I used to do design work a loooong time ago, so I'm comfortable in visual editors building out vectors and wireframing, but that's been the biggest time-saver in development, preventing miscommunications and keeping our scope on track.

    Good luck!

  3. 1

    Hi, interesting question. Glanced over answers, too. On the long run, shit will happen, then you'll need appropriate capabilities. However, I figured if you're just starting, maybe you want to spend your money conservatively? So, from THAT perspective, I think your question might need a more nuanced answer. How do you feel about directly asking your current software engineer?

    You might propose a deal. He's gonna show you one thing or two so you can maintain your website on your own as far as things run smoothly or mishaps are on the more benign end (more to that later). And if things go south, your current engineer shall be the one to be called up.

    Now, here's the thing: what's a benign incident? You probably won't be able to decide on that. What if you THINK Ah, that shall be no problem for me, I can do that, but turns out you were wrong? Or, even worse, you really mess up because of your misjudgement?

    Bottom line, maybe you can get instructed to do benign things on your own, however, you must bear the risk of misjudgment on your side. So, you need to assess your situation, and maybe there's a way to deal with risks involved, then the answer to your question might be YES, however ONLY in the short run.

    Regards, M.

  4. 1

    If you want to compete long term and not just be a brief flash in the market invest in always improving your product which takes developers. A SaaS inherently means hosting, DR, SLAs, and maintenance all before you even think about new progress which will take continued technical resources. If your SaaS works, competition will follow, always keep improving or don't bother starting at all would be my advice.

  5. 1

    Are you sure you cannot build your product with no-code tools? As other posters have mentioned, there will definitely be maintenance work once the software is written. If its built on something like webflow, you might be able to do it yourself.

  6. 1

    You should keep the person as a consultant. There will be issues and someone will have to deal with them...

  7. 1

    Depends, what's your product?

    1. 1

      hotel management system

  8. 1

    Yes, for sure.

    You will need at least maintenance expertise to make sure your software keeps running.

    How can SaaS company not have permanent developers? It's like building a widget factory, and attempt to have no one on site at the factory. There is only so much we can automate, and really automation requires a lot of maintenance.