How to Find the Perfect Business Consultant for Your Startup

In the world where good people are hard to find, time to market is tight and product quality is critical, hiring a business consultant is always the right thing to do. But how do you choose the right professional for the job?

Before bringing on a business consultant for your startup make sure you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish immediately, where you want your company to be in the long term and what is the main reason why you are considering hiring a business consultant. Then, you will need to perform extensive research to on startup business consultants until you find the perfect one for your company.

We know that when you’re thinking about hiring your first startup business consultant it is often difficult to know where to begin. Therefore we have developed a list of things to keep in mind when you do your research:

  1. Resume

The resume will give you an idea of the education, experience level and any major accomplishments of the potential candidate. You should pay particular attention to their relevant experience in your industry and any prior experience working with startups.

If the consultant has experience working in a startup environment he/she will be more likely to understand the challenges of your business and the need to work creatively with fewer resources.

We think it is always best to find a consultant who has a good mix of experience working for big and small companies. Such consultant will know best how to help you transform your startup to a well functioning big company one day.

2. Prior Consulting Clients.

Consultants usually do not put information about their prior consulting clients on their Resume. Therefore, before hiring a consultant make sure that you talk with them about their prior experience in providing business consulting services to startup companies.

In addition, you can ask any potential candidates for an example of a deck (a PowerPoint Presentation) that they have put together for other clients. From the deck you will get a good idea of the communication style of the consultant and how professionally looking their consulting deliverables are.

3. Availability.
Make sure that your consultant has enough time for you and that he/she is available on your schedule. Some consultants also have a support team that works for them. In that case you should clarify how frequently you will have 1:1 meetings with the consultant and when you should reach out to the support team with questions.

4. Expertise.
Most business consultants have many years of experience, but the best business consultants normally specialize in one specific area. Their area of expertise can include everything from sales and marketing, process modelling, to financing and business growth. Make sure their expertise matches up with the needs of your startup.

5. Testimonials.
Look for testimonials from other entrepreneurs as a form of social proof. You should be able to find testimonials on the consultant’s website, YouTube and social media sites.

The five criteria that we have outlined above give you a good idea of the facts that you should consider when hiring a business consultant for your startup. However, in addition to considering the relevant facts you should also gauge whether you “click” with any potential consultant. Make sure that you hire a consultant that you connect with on most points, is a pleasure to work with and can communicate with easily. The best business consultants will listen to your requirements, consider your business circumstances and customize their service to best suit your needs.

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