Workflow-Management Tech: A Good Business for a Nontechnical Founder

A few months back, I shared that CCAW’s technology became the secret sauce that allowed us to scale quickly. At a very high level, our technology focused on workflow management. We built it for internal use over many years. It was customized to our needs, so we never considered offering it for sale.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a few conversations with entrepreneurs who also built workflow technology internally. They now believe their technology has broader applications, and they’re building platforms to help other companies standardize and automate aspects of their businesses. I think they’re on to something and will build large businesses themselves.

Workflow-management technology is a great foundation upon which to build a tech company. The concept can be applied to numerous aspects of a business. And many things are still done manually or inefficiently, so the opportunity for improvement with technology is significant. A number of technology companies have built wildly successful workflow-management technology businesses that serve as blueprints for early entrepreneurs. (Click on the link to my previous article, above, for specific companies.)

I’m a nontechnical founder, but with my team I was able to build a large company underpinned by technology. And I’m not the only one. Nontechnical founders who want to build a great technology company as their second act can do well basing it on workflow-management tech. If they’ve lived the problem in their first company, they’ve amassed invaluable knowledge. With it, they have a ready-made founder–market fit, and they’re perfectly positioned to solve the problem better than others. (If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you may recall that I’ve talked about this—a founder’s unfair advantage—before.)

This organic knowledge also helps these founders clearly articulate a compelling vision that they’re genuinely passionate about. They’re usually looking to create a world without XYZ problem in it so other people don’t have to experience the pain they did. Such a vision is a great recruiting tool, especially for attracting a technical co‑founder. Their remembered pain can also help these founders empathize with what their potential customers are experiencing, which can help drive the vision for the product.