Updated: Aug 7
First things first.
“What are we doing!?! It's been 3 months
of working together 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. 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 me?
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 China? How do I protect myself?
Hard Costs- operations, insurances, licenses, and discovering unforeseen costs...
Operations management- How does it all flow?
It can be very rewarding to start with an entity, branding, a fun logo, and business cards. Yeah- that feels like motion. However, the success of the business lay 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.
Hiring a consultant is an exciting moment. But one must be tempered in their approach and thorough with the details. Do you want to feel good right now; or do you want to be challenged, prepared and sustainably successful? It is this detailed approach that will turn your business vision into a plan for success.