Benjamin Curtis

Speculations on Web Development

How to Build Your Business Workshop

How to build a software startup, even if you have no technical background

Do you have an idea of how to make the world a better place, or to make buckets of money, but you have no idea how to turn that idea into a business?

I’m putting on a one-day workshop for people who want to start an online or mobile business but don’t know how.

If the last part of that headline describes you, then you definitely want to attend this workshop. It’s going to be an intimate group — about 20 people — so you won’t get lost in a crowd or get behind while you’re trying to keep up with a lecture. In that workshop I’m going to teach you what you need to know to get on the path to making your idea a reality. When you walk out the door at the end of the day, you will know how get started, what pitfalls to avoid, and where the shortcuts are that will save you time and money in getting your software startup off the ground.

Here’s what you’ll learn when you attend the workshop:

How to test your idea without spending a dime

You have an idea for your business, but you aren’t sure if your idea is a winner. Or maybe you have a lot of ideas and you are trying to pick one. Wherever you are on the idea formulation spectrum, you’ll learn how to evaluate your idea (is it a winner?), how to validate your idea (can you make money with it?), and how to refine and simplify your idea so that you can start making money as quickly as possible. You’ll see examples of how other entrepreneurs have defined and refined their ideas, and you’ll get specific feedback on the idea(s) that you bring to the workshop.

How to put together a prototype with no technical help

Many entrepreneurs think the first thing they need to do after settling on an idea is to find a developer to help them build it — or worse, that they need to learn how to write code so they can build it themselves! While you definitely can take this approach, you certainly don’t need to do so. These days it’s easier than ever to make a prototype that you can put in front of customers without knowing how to code or knowing someone who does. You’d be surprised at what you can do to get your business started with free resources available online, and in this workshop you’ll get pointers to those resources that can get money coming in the door without writing a line of code.

What a technology stack is and how to pick the best one for your business

Of course, some ideas really do need some heavy lifting on the technical side. If so, you have a bunch of questions that need answering: What platform should you use? Why should you choose one over another? And just what is a platform anyway? These decisions can be overwhelming, especially at the beginning of a project, since it sometimes feels like if you make the wrong decision here you could waste a ton of time or money. You don’t need to worry, though — in this workshop you’ll get concrete advice on which platform is the best bet for your situation.

You’ll also learn the technical details of the technologies involved in running your business. As we discuss platforms, we’ll cover how a web server delivers your application to your customers, how a database works, and what development frameworks like Ruby on Rails are all about.

Getting your mobile app out to the world

We’ll walk through what it takes to get your app idea on to a phone, whether it be an iPhone or an Android device. We’ll talk about the reasons why you might go with one platform over the other, and how you can build an app for both kinds of devices at the same time.

How to find and pick a developer or team to help you build your idea

Ah, finding a developer or an agency to help you turn your idea into reality. If anything induces panic and stress for someone creating a software-based business from scratch, this does. Where do you go to find developers? How do you know whether you’ve found a good one? How do you know you’ll get your money’s worth, and that the developer will actually deliver? This workshop will arm you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about hiring technical help — even if you’re considering hiring your nephew. :)

Or, how to find and pick a technical co-founder

Maybe you’d rather take the approach of bringing a partner on board to get someone who is personally invested in making your business a success. Where do you go to find the talented technologists who can handle all the technical details for you? How do you pitch your opportunity to them once you’ve found them? And what will motivate them to sign up for your adventure? You’ll get insights on how the technical mind thinks, and how to make the best impression when trying to recruit a partner.

How to speak developer-ese, or, how to know if your team knows what they are talking about

If you’ve ever wondered just what the heck your developer is saying to you, this portion of the workshop is for you. We’ll wade into the swamps of technical jargon that developers use on an everyday basis so you won’t feel completely lost when they discuss what they are doing for you.

Sounds great! When is it going to happen?

The event will happen on June 28th, the last Friday in June, at the Courtyard by Marriott in Kirkland, WA. The workshop will start at 9:00 AM and go until 4:00 PM, and lunch will be provided.

How much is it going to cost?

The early-bird price to attend the one-day workshop is $500 per person. The early-bird registration period will end on June 7th at 11:59 PM PDT. After that, the price will be $750 per person. This workshop is limited to 20 people, so sign up soon or risk missing out!

But wait, there’s more! :)

If you register by May 31st, your $500 registration will also include a one-hour one-on-one session with me in person, if you’re near Kirkland, WA, or via Skype if you aren’t (or if you just prefer Skype). In this session we’ll discuss whatever is on your mind regarding getting your startup started.

Who is putting this on?

I’m Benjamin Curtis, and I’ve helped many entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality — without them having to learn how to code. :) I’m a developer, I know how to build software-based businesses, and I have spent years turning ideas into income-producing businesses, both for my clients and for myself. Getting from $0 to $10,000 / month isn’t rocket surgery, and it doesn’t necessarily need a big up-front investment. If you want to see your business idea become reality, I can teach you how to make it happen.