More and more, consultants are becoming a key part of the startup and small business world. Regardless of the type of company or how long has been in existence, consultants bring several valuable skills to the table in their own businesses, and helping others get started. Without any previous consulting background, new entrepreneurs can derive great benefit from bringing an experienced consultant on to their team.
Consultants offer unique industry knowledge, and can help companies optimize their business process. With their experience working on short and long-term projects for diverse types of companies, they acquire an eclectic knowledge of marketing, financing, product development, and more. This allows them as founders to have a great feel of the market, the current demand or lack of demand for their products, the industry heavyweights, and dangerous market trends to be on the lookout for.
From Consultant to Owner
Established entrepreneur Sam Ovens is an example of a consultant that has made it big both as a consultant and a business owner. He began as a nearly penniless college dropout and turned to consulting to learn about business and make ends meet. He found so much early success that he founded a company that teaches others how to start their own consulting businesses and become thriving (and often wealthy and well-connected) entrepreneurs.
The skills that consultants gain are usually quite aligned with those required to be a successful entrepreneur. Sometimes without even realizing, consultants learn how to advise and coach others toward fruitful entrepreneurship, and only need some slight practice and adjusting to be able to apply this knowledge to their own independent business careers.
Management consulting in particular prepares consultants for an almost seamless transition into their own entrepreneurship. These theory-oriented consultants act as business advisors and already hold much of the knowledge required to make a business run smoothly and correctly. They work with business owners to analyze, strategize, and supply case studies and know-how from their collective experience.
They also bring a vast network of other business owners, suppliers, legal consultants, etc. to the table that are very valuable assets to a new owner. The main difference between them and owners is that management consultants, since they’re not the actual business owners, can sometimes advise riskier strategies, since they are not directly stakeholders. If a consultant can realistically prepare to take on and properly handle the responsibility that comes with being and taking risks as the business owner, he or she can evolve this practice into a successful entrepreneurial career without much issue.
Applying Lessons Learned
If you are striving to become and entrepreneur and start your own business but do not have any of these consulting skills to use as a launch pad, consider hiring a consultant you can learn from as you get started. Many business owners use consultants and freelancers in the beginning to help cut down on employment and benefits costs. If you hire someone you can trust, you’ll be able to study what they do and use their coaching to acquire many of the skills and techniques required of you later as your business grows.
Entrepreneurs can also stand to relinquish some of the pride and responsibility they might hold as the new owner. For a founder it can be difficult to hear criticism or less than positive feedback regarding something you’ve worked so hard to create. But working with a consultant can teach you not to rely solely on yourself to do and fix everything, can teach you how to get the most out of partnerships, and set you up for a future of thoughtful business management.