Tech Savvy: How Startups Benefit from Consulting Knowledge
Entrepreneurs put a lot into tech startup ventures, from idea creation and finding a niche audience to securing enough external capital to support business operations. Like these successful tech startups, having business vision and an innovative idea is one thing; however, the wherewithal to execute plans that bring innovation into daily practices is sometimes lacking. Direction from experienced business consultants replace limited knowledge, most often from one who began their management consulting career helping technology firms.
Few have demonstrated this more on a prominent level than Sheryl Sandberg, who left a career at one of the Big 3 consulting corporations to join Google and later Facebook. Although Sandberg joined both social media giants long after the startup stage, senior executives at Google and Facebook recognized the inherent value of bringing a tech “outsider” on board. From the initial concept to growth, entrepreneurs need balance that encourages high-level thinking and long-term strategy.
Initial Concept Stage
Entrepreneurs should have a good sense of market demand and the competitive landscape during the initial stages of starting their tech firm. Typically, consulting projects are short-term and cyclical by nature. Consultants are good at grasping the dynamics of an industry and can offer much needed advice on conceptualizing what the market wants in technology services. As an example, Kathryn Minshew, a former consultant with McKinsey, emphasizes the usefulness of research skills during the idea stage of a tech startup.
Development and Implementation Stages
Now begins the roadmap for developing the product and the best approach for implementing the initial launch. Project management is an early skill consultants learn to develop in their careers. Failing to deliver on time can be a costly mistake financially, as well as damage the brand position of a tech firm. Dan Rumenik, who has started his own business, learned the value of breaking large projects into smaller tasks as a consultant. According to Rumenik, his manager encouraged him to make a larger problem smaller with manageable components of a project. If you require funds for expansion, tech-savvy consultants are often good at that.
Business consultants help entrepreneurs break down the plan into well-defined milestones that are executable and easy to track. Few businesses get a second chance to make a first impression and will need fresh eyes to review strategies. The guidance of consultants during these crucial stages helps to ensure deadlines are met.
Because they interact with business owners from a broad range of industries, consultants bring a wealth of experience to the table in problem-solving and staying on task. The benefit of having a consultant not only ensures customers are satisfied with product delivery, but also helps entrepreneurs work efficiently.
Growth Stage to Scale a Tech Business
Finally, entrepreneurs can also benefit from business consultants during the latter stages of the startup. Knowing how to execute an idea and build the product only takes the tech firm so far. Consultants bring strategic, operational and financial analyses that offer insight on scaling the firm. Exposure to many facets of the business cycle from the beginning puts consultants at an advantage.
Generally, entrepreneurs can only see where they are presently in terms of delivering on a product idea. Consultants have a broader perspective and can find ways to answer the question, “what is next?”
Entrepreneurs can use the management skills of consultants to fill important gaps. Not only are these professionals skilled at thinking strategically, but they are also equipped to perform tactically and put tech startups on the path to success.
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