Updated: Sep 29
First things first.
“What are we doing!?! It's been 3 months of working and I don't have anything to show people...”
When working with a consultant for a start-up business, the consultant should gauge where you are at in the process and what your business acumen is. This is very different from person to person. Do you have an MBA? Have you run a business before? Are you an accountant or are you an artist? Launching a start-up business requires you to be well-rounded and wear many hats. Some are ready. For others, this may take some time. Remember what they said about slow and steady....?
After identifying your knowledge base and skill set, the consultant should tailor the approach to fill in gaps in your areas of knowledge and skills. Once you have identified areas that you need help with, you will have to decide whether it is feasible to outsource those or acquire the skills. This may require you to take a class or dive into some self-teaching. A good consultant won’t send you to market without making sure that you are prepared.
This may include learning about:
Entity- What structure is right for you?
Market research- What is good research and how do you do it?
SEO- How does it really work and why does it matter? Are there tricks?
Funding sources- Who and how much? What strings will be attached?
Suppliers- How do I know the goods will actually arrive from the supplier in China? How do I protect myself?
Hard Costs- operations, insurance, licenses, and discovering unforeseen costs...
Operations management- How does it all flow?
Marketing & Advertising- Why is having a well-developed brand important? how much of your budget should be set aside for advertising?
It can be very rewarding to start with an entity, branding, a fun logo, a website, and business cards. Yeah- that feels like motion. However, the success of the business lies in the details. If the numbers don’t add up, you should know that before you have invested in launching the business. You don't want to end up the owner of a container of Hats for Cats that you still have to sell- at a loss.
It's about first identifying whether or not you have what it takes to be a business owner. Then it's about finding the right balance. Some of you work quickly, others procrastinate. Knowing who you are- your strengths and your weaknesses- must inform the approach. This is where consultants can be invaluable. A good consultant will be able to assess your personality and show you what your recipe for success looks like.