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There’s never been a better time to be in IT. The industry is one of the top money-making industries in the world. IT organizations made up 599 places (more than any other industry) on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. in 2017 and spending on IT services is predicted to reach nearly $2.65 trillion by 2020.
If you’re looking to build a startup, this is the industry in which to invest your resources. Does it matter if you have no technical expertise whatsoever? Not really.
Some of the biggest tech companies in the world were founded by people without technical backgrounds:
- Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba — one of the world’s top 10 biggest companies — graduated with a degree in English.
- Larry Ellison built Oracle — the second largest software maker in the world behind Microsoft — despite only having a background in sales.
- Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia are designers.
- Groupon creator, Andrew Mason, graduated from university with a music degree. His e-commerce marketplace is now used by nearly 50 million people worldwide, with revenues of over $930 million.
Entrepreneur contributor, Jason DeMers, wrote an article listing the 10 most critical factors that dictate startup success. These factors were:
- A team
- Crisis Response
Nowhere does it mention technical expertise. And there are countless similar info resources that cover these same fundamentals.
It seems strange to say you want to start an IT company without possessing some kind of technical knowledge, but the way in which modern business operates means that background isn’t a barrier to success.
Because if you have the leadership, the plan, and the team to make your idea work, the technical stuff can be outsourced.
The benefits of outsourcing
Outsourcing has been (and continues to be) key to the success of many of the world’s largest online companies.
Serial entrepreneur and former Facebook employee, Noah Kagan, used outsourcing for the development of AppSumo, while Basecamp’s Jason Fried outsourced app development to “tidy up and get our shit together.”
GitHub, Slack, Skype, Alibaba, and even Google have also outsourced to an IT partner in order to improve operations. When you look at the benefits it’s easy to see why:
- Reduction of operating costs — Outsourcing reduces the need for employee recruitment, training, and retention, office real estate, and IT infrastructure.
- Access to world-class IT professionals — You only deal with people that are knowledgeable and experienced in their field of expertise
- Improved focus — You can concentrate on areas of the business where you flourish
- Efficiency — Professionals that know what they’re doing complete tasks quicker and with minimum fuss
- Freeing up of internal resources — Employees can be put to use on tasks better suited to their strengths
The benefits really speak for themselves. However, there is one rather big caveat: outsourcing is only beneficial with the right IT partner.
Not all IT outsourcing providers are created equal. Some might not possess the skills you’re looking for, some might not have the resources, and some… Well, some might not be very good.
For all of the benefits the right IT partner offers, the wrong one could be one of the most costly mistakes you ever make. In fact, it can bury your startup before it even gains traction.
What to look for when choosing an IT partner
When choosing an outsourcing partner, take your time and do your research. Here are some things to look out for:
- Expertise — Can the IT partner offer the services you need? And do they possess the knowledge and expertise to offer the level of service you expect? Talk to companies about your project and your objectives, get a feel for what they’re about.
- Reliability — Outsourcing is a businesses relationship and with no technical experience, you need someone that can guide you through the process from initial consultation to project completion. Find out what experience a company has and what their track record is like.
- Experience — Who has the company worked with? What were the results? A past history of successfully delivering projects that fit in with what you require makes all the difference.
- Communication — Is the company available to chat when you need them? Can they react quickly to problems? And will they report back to you at each stage of the project in a way that you understand? IT can be complicated if you’ve no experience. You need a partner that you can converse in a jargon-free manner.
- Testimonials — What do previous clients have to say about the IT partner? Were they happy with the service and results? Would they recommend them to others? There’s no better endorsement than a testimonial.
When you don’t possess the expertise in a certain area, outsourcing is the best way to achieve a successful outcome.
When your car breaks down, you outsource repairs to a mechanic. When your tap is leaking, you outsource the task to a plumber. When a tax return is due, you call upon the skills of an accountant.
As an IT startup, outsourcing gives you access to the resources you need for success while freeing you to focus on your strengths. It’s the simplest way to grow a business quickly and affordable. Make the most of it. Find the right IT partner and hold on to them for life!