The constant uncertainty of a startup can be somewhat quelled by enlisting the talents of an experienced startup consultant who can share his/her expertise and provide advice that will help point your business towards success. While it can be helpful to use a consultant with experience in your industry it isn’t necessary. Ideally your consultant will be someone who has successfully founded his own business(es) and can blend his own diverse entrepreneurial experience with real business insight and real solutions.
A startup consultant can provide knowledge and resources that will allow any entrepreneur to move forward with an idea. Hiring one allows you to take advantage of someone’s specialized knowledge in a non-judgmental environment. Learning from someone else’s mistakes and, with their guidance, avoiding common, early pitfalls is a more palatable option than going through it yourself. Some consultants use self-inquiry methods while others are more solution-oriented but whatever your consultant’s style, it should complement your personal style to encourage an open and impactful relationship.
Startup business consulting is about nurturing the skills within the startup and helping the entrepreneur understand how to best utilize existing resources. A consultant should come with questions, not answers, to help optimize various aspects of your business, to help you find problems you might be unaware of, and to create solutions to address those problems. It’s important to remember that this advisor’s questions are asked out of curiosity and to gain information, not out of judgment. Consulting sessions are a time to put away your ego and work as part of a bigger team to make the most out of your business opportunities. The more transparency they are given into your business, the more tailored their recommendations and analysis can be to your specific needs.
A startup consultant can provide:
· Unbiased, honest, and actionable feedback on concepts, execution or organization.
· An educated assessment of your business or business idea and prudent, third party advice that enhances what you’ve brought to the table.
· A professional, outside perspective to help you see the big picture and inner workings from a non-biased standpoint so you can better understand what is and is not working.
· Realistic and experience-based suggestions in regards to budgeting.
· A systematic framework to allow your organization to streamline workflow.
A startup consultant can identify, and help avoid, bad management and leadership as well as harmful culture that can end a new business before it gets off the ground. Management is usually an area in which younger entrepreneurs are lacking experience. They can benefit from those with extensive leadership experience. The right consultant can help develop you as a leader and business owner as you simultaneously develop your business.
A startup consultant can help:
· Create or solidify your business plan (which is essential not only for day-to-day and long-term functioning of your business but also important for the purpose of attracting investors and obtaining funding).
· Develop long-term strategy that is realistic.
· Define objectives and goals and how to achieve them.
· Establish benchmarks for success and identify the appropriate metrics to collect and analyze in order to determine your progress towards the goals.
· Develop an understanding of what amount of functionality is adequate so your products or services get to the launch phase instead of being eternally trapped in the innovation phase.
A consultant can also help you keep up with changing trends, especially where market research is concerned. This research allows them not only to tell you what is happening in the market but also to give suggestions on how to use that information to move forward. Your startup business and marketing strategist can assist you in understanding market trends and changes that can impact your business or that you can capitalize on for growth.
Startup consultants tend to follow a fixed schedule which provides you with regularly scheduled and structured conversations. Regular meetings help you and your team step back and reflect on your how things are going instead of consistently being buried in the busyness and stress of a startup business. Consultants also open doors to new networking opportunities that you might not otherwise have time to find for yourself.
Startup consultants can help educate you regarding best practices for all aspects of running a business. Your startup consultant should be fully focused on improving the performance and outcomes of your organization. As you search for the right fit, remember that practical, not theoretical, experience is what will help so be sure to research the experience and background of potential consultants before you enter into an agreement. Do keep in mind that a failed startup experience is not necessarily a bad thing if he or she has moved forward from there.
Read prospective consultants’ blogs, crawl through their websites, ask to speak with current or former clients. Make sure they are relevant, informative, and that the way they communicate makes sense to your way of thinking. Find someone not only with the expertise and knowledge to guide you in your startup journey but also with the personal caring that will develop you as well.
At 10twelve, we love diving into your business. Our experience starting, growing and selling businesses in a number of industries helps us help our clients do the same. Often you are too bogged down in the day-to-day running of your business. Allow us to come in and give that 50,000-foot view, ask a lot of questions to dive into your business and formulate a plan where we can work together to launch or grow your business. If you are ready to take your idea or business to the next level, contact the experts at 10twelve today.