206. How to choose the right No Code tools for your project

development innovation mobile apps non-technical founder product management Jun 05, 2024

No code tools can help you build an app for just 1% of the cost that you would pay developers.

Amazing! But how do you know which no code tools to use?

Listen to this episode to find out.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The four questions you need to answer to help you choose the right No Code tool 
  • What to know about your user before you start building a tool
  • Why you don't need to worry about scale from the start


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Episode Transcript

Hello smart people!

How are you today? I am now back to London, after a glorious week in Bahrain. The temperature drop is real.

Last week, I told you about the No Code revolution, and that’s a smidgen of the course I was teaching to entrepreneurs in Bahrain.

Also, did you know that this podcast is listed as one of the best No Code podcasts in the world, so to honour that, here is another lesson on No Code tools.

Today’s lesson is obviously relevant to founders and corporate innovators, who want to build products to test their ideas.

I also recommend that anybody in the investment community, especially angel investors, listen to this. If you are investing in early stage product innovation, either as a CFO or as an actual investor, the more you understand the product development landscape, the better investment decisions you will be able to make.

If you want to work with tech companies and VCs as your clients, for example because you’re a lawyer or a banker, this episode isn’t super relevant, so come back next week, because today’s class is going to be quite detailed and technical.

In today’s class I am going to share a decision making framework to help you choose the right No Code tools for your project.

There is a plethora of No Code tools available to you, and more keep on being added to the mix.

So, while I can tell you about some of the tools I like today, this could be really different in just 6 months time.

This is why, learning a framework for how to choose No Code tools is more important than me telling you: use this tool.

Also, the tutorials on NoCode.tech are quite useful if you want to dive into a particular no code topic.

So, when you are thinking about what no code tool to use for your project step 1 is to stop thinking about the tool! Think about the problem you are solving, and whom you are solving it for. Always keep that person, your user, in mind.

Based on that, think about the functionality your product needs to have. What features need to go into your product?

For example, are you are going to store medical data or credit card information? If the answer is yes, then the product needs to be super secure, and you might need to have double encryption.

Also think about how your users will use your product? Will they use it on their mobiles or on their computers? Will they have fast internet, or will their internet be patchy?

The more you know about how people will use your product, the better the product can be.

Right now, Bubble and Glide are the best No Code tools for mobile use, but not for desktop. This is why you need to think about how people will use your product first.

By the way, the same questions also apply if you are building custom software, as in building a product from scratch.

Only after you’re clear on how people will use your product should you start thinking about tools.

The first question to ask is: does this tool have the functionality I need for my project? For example, if one of your features is that you need to upload videos, find out if the functionality exists. Or, if you need to sell products, can you collect payments via this product?

Another important part of functionality is integration: can you connect to other tools? To continue with our payment collection scenario, check if the no code tool you want to use connects to Stripe or Paypal, so you can get paid.

The second and equally important question is: how easy is it for me to use this tool?

Don’t be idealistic here, and remember that you only live once.

If you need to build a product to test an idea, please do not spend lots of time learning how to use a tool. That defeats the point.

If you want to build a web app, Squarespace is easier to learn than Bubble, but it doesn’t have Bubble’s functionality. In general, the easier something is to use, the less customisable it is.

So, if you’re totally new to no code tools, and have never built a product, or worked with a tech team, please, do not try to make a super customisable thing. It’s going to be really hard and you’re more likely to give up.

Creating something is better than creating nothing, because when you have something, you can use it to learn and gather data. So, just pick the easiest route forward and get moving.

If a tool has a supportive community, or even customer support, that can make a really big difference.

For example, I use Kajabi to sell my online courses, and so the entire backend of techfornontechies.co is built on a no code tool called Kajabi. It is a tool especially for e-learning businesses. They have helpful customer service and a lively community on Facebook, where people really help each other.

Tutorials and video lessons are useful, but we all just get stuck sometimes, and this is where human help, really makes a difference.

So to recap: first see whether the product has the functionality you need, including if it can integrate with other online services, like Paypal for payments, or Google Maps if you need location data.

Then, see how easy it is to learn to use this tool. If the learning curve is too steep, look for an alternative.

And now for my third point: look at the pricing model. No Code tools are usually free to start with, and go up in price when you get more users.

For example, Mailchimp, a super great tool for sending mass emails, is free at the beginning, and then gets quite expensive quickly.

This assumes that you will somehow get money when you get more users. This could be from revenue, as in selling stuff, or from investors.

So, what’s the plan, Stan? Where is the money going to come from when you get popular? I know you won’t know this at the beginning, but you need to have an idea.

Don’t sign up to free tiers of expensive tools without a plan for how to pay for inevitable upgrades.

And finally, a lot of No Code tools aren’t great for scaling, but some are. It’s a good idea to check if the tool you are using can scale well, but realistically, it’s quite hard to tell from the beginning.

If you know the answer to this question, then great. If you can’t tell whether a particular tool can scale well, then don’t stress too much about it and just start making something. That’s how you’ll find out.

And most importantly, if you don’t know the answers to all these questions, just try a tool and see what happens. Product innovation is an arena where you learn by doing, whether you are writing code or using no code tools.

Think about it - you can watch all the cookery shows in the world, but if you have never actually cooked anything, all that cooking show knowledge will be meaningless. This is the same here.

Think through your product, research which tools have the functionality and support you need, look at the pricing structure and think about scale. But! Don’t spend too much time on this.

Be careful of analysis paralysis.

If you’re listening to this episode, you want to to build a product. This means that for you, time is of the essence!

Do not waste your time by considering all your options: there are probably too many to choose from.

Successful people take steps forward with imperfect information.

Make a choice, try it out, if it doesn’t work, make another choice. You can do this.

And that’s it for this lesson.

If you found this episode useful, please leave this show a rating and a review.

It takes me time and effort to make these educational episodes for you, so if you get value from them, please help me spread the word. Ratings and reviews let the algorithms and other people know that this show is worth listening to, and that really helps both them and me!

Let’s help as many smart people as we can succeed in the Digital Age.

And on that note, I wish you a wonderful day today and I shall be back in your delightful smart ears next week.


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