If you dream of turning your business idea into a fully saleable and scaleable product, onboarding a startup consultant early on can be a great help in making that happen.
To put it mildly, starting a business is a minefield of strategic, technical, and operational obstacles and burdens – any of which can scupper your chances of long-term success.
This is borne out by the figures. According to fairly conservative estimates, 20% of startups fail in their first year of business, and less than half make it to five years. Other, more alarming figures suggest 60% fail in the first three years of business. In some industries, the figure is likely to be far higher.
Why Do Startups Still Fail?
It’s not always a fault with the early-stage concept itself. However, having good ideas doesn’t necessarily translate into creating a good business. All too frequently, it’s the things that are needed to turn a promising idea into a profitable business – product development, market strategy, creating solid operational foundations, etc. – where startups come unstuck.
If you lack knowledge or experience in these areas, it makes sense to consider some sort of external expertise to guide you through them. This is where a startup consultant can prove invaluable to your business development.
What Is a Startup Consultant?
Startup consultants work with founders on a short- to medium-term basis to help move their business from startup to scaleable company. At a basic level, they offer a fresh, unbiased perspective that’s hard to find from within an organisation, spotting areas for improvement fledgling entrepreneurs usually miss.
Startup consultants can be generalists onboarded to take a 360-degree approach to business planning and scaleability, or specialists dedicated to a particular area – product development, for example, or IT infrastructure. What you’ll need them for will depend on the nature of your business, your existing internal expertise and what your long-term goals are.
How Can a Startup Consultant Help Your Business Scale?
Startup consultants can help you scale your company by providing expertise in three broad areas:
- Supporting a successful product launch
- Creating a long-term strategy
- Setting down solid operational foundations
We explore each in detail below.
Supporting a Successful Product Launch
Let’s say you have an idea for a mobile app. You can hire developers to build it if you haven’t got the skills yourself, but they won’t necessarily manage the actual market research, timeframes and product launch processes for you.
A well-managed development process – setting up development sprints, for example – makes all the difference in scaling your idea quickly and effectively. A consultant can provide insights on interpreting market research and identifying a target market for your business idea, alongside helping to identify requirements for a minimum viable product and optimising your product development lifecycle.
Particularly if you’re new to the app development process, these insights can be invaluable in shaving valuable time (weeks or months, in some cases) off your time-to-market, can help you gain recognition, and improve your chances of catching the eyes of those angel investors you’ve been hoping to attract.
Creating a Long-Term Strategy
You have a target market and a product or service that fulfils an established demand. How does that translate into long-term success?
A startup consultant will work with you to create a business development strategy to help you secure quick wins in the early stages, build momentum, maintain that success, and then scale your company off the back of it. They can also help with setting realistic budgets for achieving strategic business objectives and help you identify potential funding sources for growth.
Would you like to scale by expanding your product offering, for example, or perhaps start to build up a range of value-added services to your customers? How will you ensure your company can adapt to market changes over the next decade? Drawing on their experience, startup consultants work with you to identify ambitious-but-achievable long-term goals and create a workable phased plan to help you attain them.
Setting Down Solid Operational Foundations
Starting a business is one thing. Creating the foundations to run a business and grow it over the long-term is quite another. Your ability to scale can be made or broken here – if you don’t have the infrastructure in place to support anything more than a small business, cracks will appear as soon as you start to expand.
Startup consultants use hands-on experience to help you lay the foundations for scalability, whether that’s creating an IT infrastructure that can grow with you, optimising onboarding processes for new clients or new staff, or streamlining managerial hierarchies. It’s easy to overlook these concerns when your entire workforce fits in a single room. Having solid strategies for navigating them before they arise will significantly increase your chances of scaling successfully.
Consultancy Based Around Your Needs
To truly reap the benefits a startup consultant can offer, it’s important to find the right partners to work with. Ideally, you should be looking for consultants with years of hands-on experience and – if your business idea is software-based – a portfolio of successful development projects under their belt.
Evolve is an award-winning, UK-based software and business consultancy that has been helping entrepreneurs scale and maintain business success for over a decade. We draw from a deep pool of technical and business planning expertise to take your business from the idea phase to a fully-fledged scaleup company.
Take a look at our case studies to see how we’ve helped companies similar to yours, or get in touch for more information.