The case for start-up consulting

The case for: startup consulting

By Alexander Serre

Want to kickstart your company's expansion?

A consultant may help give your company the edge and equip your team with the skills needed to stand out from the competition. Read the article below to hear from Senior Project Consultant, Alexander Serre and why consulting may be the best path forward for your company.

There's an ongoing debate as to whether consulting for start-ups is the right move. Just take this article by Karl Hughes for one. We’re firm believers that consultants can help drive your start-up forward at rapid speed. What do you think?


If the start-up survival rate was higher, we would undoubtedly agree. However, one thing we consistently hear from startups is "we could really do with someone with your experience on our team”. This comment makes us think. These people are not the CEOs/CTOs or a plethora of other CXO titles that populate the Startup environment, but more from the employees who work for them.

Why are CXOs sometimes reluctant to use consultants?

Maybe “consulting” is the wrong term! Maybe it frightens away CXOs that potentially need help. 'Consulting' is a generic term that is maybe too broad and possibly more associated with a high price to pay from larger consultancy firms. Other terms such as Freelancer, Expert and Coach don’t seem to get a much better success rate in the Startup world.

So maybe, not only is a new name needed, but also a more precise definition as well. Our analysis to date has shown quite a few trends:
  • Many startups need help but don’t ask for it
  • Many startups need help but don’t know it
  • Many startups already have support
There’s many reasons why the above might be the case. Perhaps another angle is to look at the needs we’re seeing from start-up CXOs today. How many from this list could you benefit from?

  • Hands on help to deliver what needs to be done
  • Confirmation that they are on the right the right track
  • Help that doesn’t cost too much
  • Help when they need it
  • Sparring partner for their ideas
  • Someone who understands the start-up environment
  • An expert with real experience
  • Someone that is flexible
  • Someone that will believe in their vision as much as they do
In Karl’s article, he analysed different roles that consultants may have within start-ups. He indicated some inconveniences of each, but he also suggested a new term: Execution Partner.

I like this terminology as it a) focuses more on implementation than simply just suggesting ideas, and b) portrays the idea of an implicated team member rather than just an outsider that comes in to help.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could reduce the start-up failure rate by half? We could create more and sustainable jobs through optimised business development plans and their subsequent implementation.

Perhaps the Execution Partner is part of your solution.

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