(this article originally appeared in Forbes and was written by Abdo Riani)
Speed and adaptability are key ingredients in every product development phase of a startup. Assume it will take you four months to create and launch the first version of your product. You spoke with potential customers, gathered their feedback, and implemented it to create the best solution you could build based on the information you have.
If those potential customers need your solution, they will be looking forward to it. And if they committed financially, they’re going to be even more eager to use it. The truth is that in a competitive market where buyers have many options, eagerness and patience are two different things. The customers may wish to use your product sooner rather than later but they will not wait for it. Even if they don’t have better options today, they will figure out an alternative solution.
Now assume you launched your product, served the first customers, and gathered some more critical feedback. Your customers will not wait months for those changes, no matter how important your product is for them. Speed and adaptability can make or break a startup.
You could build a fully committed team whose only responsibility is to continuously improve the product to meet customer expectations. Or, especially in the beginning, you can leverage the power of low-code and no-code development platforms to move forward, with or without a technical background.
Before you decide to build your app idea with those tools, figure out if it is a suitable approach for your startup product. In this post, you will find some of the biggest advantages and challenges of using no-code or low-code development platforms. In this post, no-code and low-code are used interchangeably.
Benefits Of Low-code And No-code Development
GiveLocal was a web application for buying digital gift cards to support struggling local businesses during the pandemic. The product only took three days to create with a no-code platform. GiveLocal was almost immediately acquired by USA Today and rebranded Support Local.
When compared to the conventional approach of app development, the use of low-code platforms can make it possible for startup founders to give a tangible and functional form to their ideas, faster than the time it takes to even hire a developer. Here are some more key benefits and use cases:
- In the idea validation stage, simple applications with limited functionality can be developed using low-code platforms for internal usage and testing.
- With the assistance of AI and machine learning, users can develop several iterations of prototypes to rapidly move product development.
- Startup founders can also use these platforms to create simple concept applications for alpha testing and generate excitement amongst early adopters.
- Very limited investment in terms of time, money, and skills is required for using low-code platforms, which makes it possible for startup founders to make early shifts in startup concept development if required to prove the business model.
No matter your background as a founder it can make a lot of business sense to adopt relevant no-code platforms in the early stages of startup development. However, this approach is not free from its share of constraints and you should be aware of them before choosing this path.
Challenges Of Low-code And No-code Development
Although growing at an exponential rate, the oldest no-code platforms are only about a decade old. Just like any other innovation, the early-stages always come with limitations.
- Platform lock-in, which essentially means that if you use low-code platforms in the early stages of developing your startup app and eventually want to leave the platform for more flexibility, you may need to completely redevelop your application. Data migration can be a critical limitation of low-code platforms.
- Higher data vulnerability and security can be a concern for applications built with low-code platforms.
- If you want to develop product concepts or prototypes with limited functionality, low-code platforms may be the way to go. Advanced solutions with complex algorithms can also be built with low-code platforms, however, they may come with a lot of limitations.
In conclusion, no-code tools can help you take your idea all the way to an acquisition. At the very least, you will be able to launch the first few versions of your startup app idea for validation and early user testing.