No Code Tools to Build your Startup
A lot of entrepreneurs don't have the technical expertise to build software from scratch and that's okay. Thankfully, there's been a growing movement of no code and/or low code tools to help you build technical aspects to your startup! It might be a full app or just no code tools that work behind the scenes to help give you back your own time.
In this post, we're going to cover some of our favorite no code tools to help you build your startup!
I won't lie - at first, I thought Airtable was useless and too complicated. What makes it so much better than Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets? Now that I've been using it almost daily now for 6+ months, I can safely say that my first impressions of Airtable were completely wrong and I shouldn't have judged so hard.
To start - it's not Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. If you're looking to do calculations and financial projections, Airtable isn't for that. What Airtable is for is for if you're looking to keep data somewhere and manage it. Airtable is a power no-code tool because it's a way to manage databases without a huge lift.
Some basic examples of why Airtable can be of use to you as an early stage entrepreneur is just by looking at their template bases that you can build from. Airtable can act as your CRM, Content Calendar, or just a tracker of almost anything.
The most significant way I've personally used Airtable is to manage our Venture Program Applications at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale where I work as an Innovation Fellow. We managed over 70 applications with Airtable. We organized all of the data, matched applications with reviewers, and sent automated custom emails to everyone involved in the process. It took some time to setup, but it was worth it based on how organized it made our process and how much time it saved after it was set up.
You can even get started with Airtable for free if you want to just check it out and see if it lives up to the hype.
The second no code tool to build your startup with that I'll recommend is Zapier. If you're just getting started with no code tools, Zapier might be the first tool you ever use when it comes to no code tools. That's because Zapier is kind of like the "pipes" of the internet. If you imagine the internet as a whole as a house, Zapier is like the pipes of a house that connect rooms and the entire house together.
As a result, Zapier is a go to for many because of the adaptability. It connects almost any software product to another one. For example, let's say you have a website and you collect emails using a simple form. Instead of having those emails just go to a Google Sheet, you want them to go straight to your email service like Mailchimp or ConvertKit. Well, you could do that with Zapier!
One of the coolest uses I've used Zapier for to date is for the Venture Development program applications that previously mentioned. I was able to connect data in one of our Airtable bases to Google Docs to create custom formatted documents from the data in Airtable. Other examples like this would be creating invoices from a template or progress reports of a client that you want to share easily.
There are so many beneficial ways to use Zapier that someone could probably write a novel on all the different use cases. It's just one of the tools that once you get used to it, you just never forget it because of the efficiency it can create.
The third no code tool to build your startup is Bubble. I will admit - out of all of the no code tools we'll mention in this post, Bubble is the most complicated out of all of them, but also might be the most significant of them.
With Bubble, you can create custom software without knowing how to code. If you're someone that loves design, especially UX/UI design, Bubble can be a great tool to add to your skill set. If you're someone that has used Adobe XD, Bubble is like Adobe XD, except the app can fully function.
You can get revenue with a Bubble made software and if you ever feel that you need something more than Bubble, you can export your code. You don't have to start from scratch if you ever want to leave Bubble. Time will tell how startups can scale with Bubble made software, but so far, it's looking really doable, particularly if you understand your unit economics really well.
If you're someone that gets annoyed by having one more app or having one more tool to learn, Notion is a tool for you. It's never elite at one particular thing, but it's elite at being average in many.
In other words, Notion is a software that can help you keep notes organized, plan all of your social media content, be a wiki for your team, and even act as a webpage. Yep - it's a little bit of everything!
Personally, I love Notion as a no code tool because of the flexibility and taking notes with it is such a delight. If you're someone that loves keyboard shortcuts, Notion is such a wonderful note taking tool.
Also, if you're just starting your venture and don't want to build an entire website off the bat - you can literally create a webpage in minutes with Notion for free. You can think of it as if you created a Google Doc but it was formatted like a normal web page.
Overall, Notion is a great flexible no code tool that can serve you no matter what size or type of a business you're trying to build.
If you're someone that has experience working with website builders like Squarespace, Weebly, or Wix, but want to build a website with more flexibility without coding - Webflow is for you.
Webflow gives you the ability to build a fully custom website without writing a single line of code. Just like Bubble, one of the no code tools to build your startup we mentioned earlier, there is a little bit of a learning curve to Webflow. However, Webflow must have the best tutorial videos out there. They're informative, simple, and entertaining.
To put Webflow in context - Webflow isn't like Bubble where it's this full blown software that can do almost anything. Webflow can do a lot, but it doesn't have all of the bells and whistles that Bubble offers. If you're looking to build a custom website though, Webflow is a great option. It's just not the perfect option for if you're building a full blown SaaS product.
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