The first time I heard the word ‘consultants’, I was like, “Wow! That’s fancy”.
And for most of the parts, it is. And not just the term, but the whole shebang of it.
Then, as I entered the corporate world, I understood that ‘consultant’ is a superset, which has one too many subsets, categories, and so so much more.
This blog is a deep dive into the world of business consultants, and most importantly, why do startups need them sometime or the other in their journey.
- What’s the current startup scene?
- Who are consultants?
- Types of consultants
- 1. Business (strategy) consultants
- 2. Marketing consultants
- 3. Sales consultants
- 4. CX consultants
- 5. IT consultants
- 6. Tech consultants
- 7. Finance consultants
- 8. HR consultants
- 9. Operations consultants
- 10. Legal consultants
- 11. PR / Media consultants
- 12. Compliance consultants
- 13. Security consultants
- 14. Management consultants
- 15. Product development consultants
- 16. Mental wellness consultants
- 17. UX consultants
- 18. Growth marketing consultants
- 19. Personal development consultants
- Why should startups hire business consultants?
What’s the current startup scene?
9 out of 10 startups fail1.
Of course, there are various reasons behind it, but the most common one is the lack of market (consumer) understanding.
And, come to think about it, only 2 out of 5 startups are making a profit.
These numbers, and more that we will see in this blog are proof that some startups are doing something wrong. Not all of those 9 startups are meant to fail, right?
No, I am not meaning to scare you, but if you have taken the leap of having a startup, you may as well know the reality.
Moreover, a good number of product-based / tech startup founders are software developers or engineers, who are undoubtedly pros in their field, but they might lack the know-how of leadership, management and strategizing.
Now, the startup consultants and mentors are the ones who help these brands go right.
Read the rest of the blog to know how.
Who are consultants?
Consultants, or business consultants are professionals who help organizations streamline and grow their operations over a period of time.
Quite often, consultants also assist with the execution of various projects and growth strategies across different industries and departments.
Most consultants are industry experts and work in their niche for a higher success rate.
Types of consultants
Just like any other profession, consultants have types and kinds too. Here they are.
1. Business (strategy) consultants
One of the most comprehensive kinds of consultants, they help brands with growth and overall strategies to improve their market positioning.
In essence, they partake in upper-level decision making and overall business performance.
I know, business and strategy consulting sounds like a broad term, and it is. For that reason, it houses aspects like financial strategy, business development strategy, team building strategies and more as we speak.
2. Marketing consultants
As the name suggests, marketing consulting includes suggesting the best marketing strategies and approaches for better brand recognition.
Not to mention, marketing consultants have a role to ensure the best ROI against the strategies implemented, analyze and optimize your marketing reach from time to time and make you stand out from the crowd.
They also assist you to identify the best marketing channels for your brand and industry and decide where and how to invest your efforts, resources and money for the best results.
3. Sales consultants
Sales consultants, similar to marketing consultants, help brands set up their sales funnels, drive sales enablement and empowerment programs.
Sometimes, they also train your sales teams in the art of communication, negotiations, proposals, demos and the whole nine years.
That’s what we, at TCC, provide for our sales consulting services.
4. CX consultants
One of my favorite consultants is CX consultants.
Because they play a crucial role in improving customer experience and satisfaction with your brand.
And, I am sure that you know the impact of customer experience on business growth by now.
An effective CX strategy from the consultants improves your brand value for the target audience, and puts into practice the best approaches to build a long-term relationship with your customers.
5. IT consultants
IT consultants have a two-part role in any organization.
One, they are responsible for implementing and bringing in place various automation solutions across different departments. This is to simplify your operations at their core and improve efficiency.
Second, they are responsible for executing various cyber security measures to avoid data breaches at an organizational level.
All in all, IT consultants are specialists who come in handy for the simplest to the most challenging of tasks within your workforce.
6. Tech consultants
Often under the IT consultants, tech consultants are the experts of the best and latest technologies available in the market.
They guide you with the best tech stack to use for your product development, considering aspects like scalability and durability of your product.
7. Finance consultants
As the name suggests, finance or financial consultants are those who help keep your accounts and expenses in check.
They participate in yearly budgeting across activities, ROI analysis, cost optimization and resource utilization, thus improving your profit margin.
8. HR consultants
HR consultants have a multi-faceted role at any organization.
They assist with operations including, but not limited to:
- Team building
- Performance management
- Skill development
They, like your in-house HR team, improve your work environment and empower the team members.
9. Operations consultants
When we see startups running amazingly well, we think how easy and smooth it must be from within too.
Afterall, the grass is always greener on the other side. 😉
But it’s when you experience it yourself, you realize that it is not exactly a piece of cake.
In fact, you’d be anxious most of the time for some or other reasons.
This is where operations consultants come in picture. They help you streamline your operations and even set up company-wide SOPs and protocols for the best yield.
They put into practice long term strategies and optimization approaches which not only make your team productive but also untangle daily evaluations for you.
10. Legal consultants
Ah, one of the most important, yet neglected kinds.
Legal consultants, and even lawyers are like an emergency exit. We use them only in case of a crisis or catastrophe.
To be honest, startups with innovative ideas need to keep their ideas and approaches safe from the competition. This is a mere example of where startups might need legal consultants.
In addition, legal consultants assist with agreements, NDAs and contracts from time to time.
11. PR / Media consultants
These are the professionals who put you in front of the media and eventually, the world.
Your brand recognition is as important as acquiring customers. Media consultants will make you visible on the map based on the messaging you want to convey.
PR consultants are also responsible for getting you coverage across various types of media (print, online, banners) through collaborations.
12. Compliance consultants
If you are dealing with personal data, directly or indirectly, this one’s for you.
Considering the strict personal data protection laws rolling out recently, you need to have your systems compliant with them. Compliance consultants do exactly that.
This will not only keep your data safe from leaks or abuse, but will also establish trust between you and your customers.
13. Security consultants
Walking hand-in-hand with compliance consultants, security consultants bring you onboard with the latest and best security practices for the industry and audience you are dealing with.
You might not always need them, like legal consultants, but you have to make sure that you are on the right track for growth, and not facing any malware or virus attacks from any of your outlets.
14. Management consultants
Management consulting includes guiding executives, managers and leaders of your organization towards better team management, decision making and strategizing.
These consultants have experience of working alongside industry leaders and are essentially kingmakers.
Often, they are also involved in high-level decision-making processes for business development and expansion.
15. Product development consultants
Working alongside tech consultants, this kind has witnessed a myriad of product development stories.
They play a role of understanding the market trends, audience requirements and help you build a product-market-fit, which is a driving force of a startup’s success.
They suggest what features to develop, when to develop, pricing strategies and even the priorities in the product development process.
Product managers can be the best product development consultants.
16. Mental wellness consultants
Considering the increasing amount of mental health issues across the world, this is a no-brainer.
Mental wellness consultants are often psychologists or counselors who lend their expertise to you and your team members from time to time.
This ensures your team that they are always heard, no matter what they are facing, and makes them focused on their development.
Must Read: We have compiled a list of things you can do to prevent mental health issues at your workplace.
17. UX consultants
Unlike CX consultants who work with multiple departments, UX consultants usually work with development teams to improve the overall user experience of your product.
They have accumulated years of experience to make effective and efficient recommendations to make your product more user-friendly.
18. Growth marketing consultants
While marketing consultants help you with your overall marketing strategies which ultimately impact your branding, growth marketing consultants are focused only on your business development.
They provide clear ideas on what to do to increase your reach and customer acquisition through the “growth marketing” approach.
19. Personal development consultants
Considering the growing competition and complexity of various fields today, skill development has become a necessity.
Personal development consultants work with managers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of individuals in their team, and organize training and development programs from time to time for their growth.
Moreover, personal development consulting involves getting familiar with each individual and their goals, and helping them achieve their goals through different tactics.
I bet you didn’t know these many types of consultants exist. Even I didn’t, until I was well into my professional journey.
Why should startups hire business consultants?
66% of small businesses outsource their services to other small business2.
And I am sure, by the time you read through the types of consultants, you must have realized who you need for your startup.
Just to make it a bit easier for you, I am sharing some sure shot reasons for startups to hire consultants here.
1. You get access to years of experience
Consultants, whichever kind you go for, have a lot (a lot) of experience in their fields. They are in fact subject matter experts, and you simply cannot let them go if you get an opportunity.
Of course, you can have the last call to make the decisions for your startup, but there’s no harm in hearing their suggestions and points of view.
An experienced perspective is always good to rely on.
2. Helps you with a clear vision for the long run
Business consultants majorly help you with long-term strategies.
This forces you to think about a long-term vision for your startup and make realistic growth projections as well as business goals.
This, in turn, makes you a better entrepreneur.
3. Optimizes your expenses and resources
One consultant does the job of at least two managers / team leaders.
Not to mention, they lead the way for your existing team members to yield maximum results without having to invest much.
In some cases, business consultants also play a role in team building and recruitment activities to shape your team of the future.
4. Teaches you ruthless prioritization
Running a startup can be overwhelming, very much so.
And you might not always be clear about your priorities.
Consultants, thus, act as your guiding light and help you sort out your priorities, which leaves a positive impact on your business and personal growth.
5. Improves your decision-making ability
Combined with a clear vision and priorities, you are more likely to be aware of the decisions to make.
Business consultants help you think about the ultimate greater good, your startup and make each decision keeping that in mind, leaving aside the later consequences.
If I think about it, consultants are mentors, your teachers in your entrepreneurial journey.
Granted, not all of them may help you exactly in the way you need, but they will definitely teach you things that would take a long time for you to learn.
You might not need all of them at once, or at all, but being aware of the fact that you need all the help you can get to build a startup would be a turning point.
Do you think consultants can help? Have you ever felt the need for one?
Drop your thoughts in the comments below.