Empowering Non-Tech Startup Owners – #3: Analyzing Non-Technical Aspects in the Open Source vs. Building from Scratch Debate

Non-tech startup owners face a critical decision when choosing between open-source solutions and building software from scratch. While technical considerations are important, non-technical aspects play a significant role in this decision-making process. This essay analyzes the non-technical factors that non-tech startup owners should consider, highlighting their PROS and CONS.

Time-related Aspects

Time is crucial for startups, and three key time-related factors should be evaluated:

  1. Time to Develop: Building from scratch allows for customization but may require more time compared to utilizing open-source solutions. However, a hybrid approach can leverage open-source components for faster development. In a majority of projects, our clients develop additional plugins to embed to pre-built open-source scripts. It saves much time while the product has the expected features.
  2. Time to Minimum Viable Product (MVP): Open-source solutions can expedite MVP development quickly. Some particular open-source could meet 90% or even 100% your need. On the other side, building from scratch enables precise tailoring to unique requirements.
  3. Time to Market: Open-source solutions with pre-built functionalities can reduce time to market, especially when aligning with the majority of required features. Building from scratch may lead to longer timeframes.

Budget-related Aspects

Financial considerations are crucial for non-tech startup owners, and two key budget-related aspects should be evaluated:

  1. Budget to Develop: Open-source solutions can be cost-effective, leveraging existing functionalities. Building from scratch may require a larger budget due to additional development efforts and resource allocation.
  2. Cost of Ownership: Consider the long-term expenses associated with maintaining, updating, and supporting the chosen solution. Open-source solutions often have lower long-term costs due to the support from the provider and community, while building from scratch requires continuous investments.

Development Management

Efficient development management is essential for startup success, and two key aspects should be evaluated:

  1. Managing Development: Open-source solutions offer ready-made frameworks that require less managerial effort. Building from scratch demands effective project management, resource allocation, complex-technology and coordination.
  2. Building an Effective Team: Open-source solutions often require a smaller team due to available expertise. Building from scratch requires assembling a competent team with cross-skills for effective collaboration and communication.


Non-tech startup owners face a complex decision when choosing between open-source solutions and building from scratch. Evaluating non-technical aspects such as time-related factors, budget considerations, and development management is crucial. By carefully assessing these aspects, non-tech startup owners can make informed decisions aligned with their business goals, budget constraints, and growth potential. Leveraging open-source solutions in the early stages can help validate business models, save time, and reduce costs. As the startup evolves and proves its potential, further customization or building from scratch can be pursued.

Are there any other non-technical aspects to consider? Please comment to share your insights with us and the community to exchange knowledge. Let's collaborate and explore all the factors that impact non-tech startup owners' decisions.