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The Pros and Cons of Startup Consulting

If you’re considering hiring a consultant for your startup business, check out these pros and cons first to decide if that the right move for you.

Are you looking into hiring a consultant to help your startup develop? You should be aware of all the pros and cons of startup consulting before making a decision.

Bringing in a consultant to a startup is not at all uncommon. In fact, there are now lots of consultants specializing specifically in this area, advising on everything from business as usual strategies to growth hacking.

While a consultant can really help you out in some areas, it’s important to know when to hire them and how to get the most out of them.

Here’s everything you need to think about before asking a consultant to come on board for a project or regular work. We’ll start with the positives of startup consulting before looking at the negatives.

Pro: They’re Not an Employee

Anyone who comes to your firm to do startup consulting is not an employee. They are a self-employed person. Your agreement with them is limited to the contract you sign.

This contract should set out what you expect them to do, and the cost of that work.

You have no legal responsibility for them in terms of paying overtime, issuing pay stubs and other administrative tasks. You don’t have to treat them as you would your other employees in terms of the perks you might offer to attract staff.

You’re still bound by OSHA regulations as to health and safety in the workplace. But as you’ll be following these anyway, there’s no added cost to you of having a contractor arrive.

There’s no need to shoulder the constant cost of having a consultant on site either. You can bring them in for a few weeks or months to clear a project and then forget about their cost to your business.

If the startup consulting went well, you can keep the consultant in mind for the future. And if it wasn’t as smooth as you’d hoped, you can search for a different person next time. It’s very flexible.

If you’re really impressed with them, and vice versa, you might consider bringing them on board full time. But there’s no commitment to do so.

Pro: An Experienced ‘Guide’ for Your Business

Most professionals who undertake startup consulting have been in the workforce for many years. They’ve gathered plenty of experience and contacts before setting off on their own.

This means that they’re the perfect person to add a sense of direction and – dare we say it – reality to the big dreams you’ve got.

This tempering edge of their experience helps you to walk the business tightrope neatly. Startup consulting can nudge your business along the right course, which might be a solution you’ve completely overlooked.

Meanwhile, their book of contacts can be very useful indeed. They can help you to set up meetings with the right people, who they might have worked with in the past. They might even be friends, which can make some very useful people amenable to helping your company out.

Con: They’re Not an Employee

We’ve just said that startup consulting is great because it doesn’t come with the obligations of being an employer. That’s true, but it has its drawbacks too.

Your consultant is a freelancer. They may not just be working for you, and they might not be able to give you their full focus because of this.

If you pay them enough, you’ll have their complete and utter attention. But if you can only afford to bring them in a few times a month, they’ll definitely be working on other jobs at the same time.

This doesn’t mean they’ll give you half-measure results. They’re professionals. However, you might not get everything that you want out of them if they’re distracted with other projects.

They also may not be invested in what happens to your business in the long-term. So they may deliver results which are only good enough to pan out in the short-term.

Con: It Might Be Too Expensive

Although there’s less commitment when choosing a consultant than an employee, many consultancy options are simply too expensive for a small startup to afford.

Startup consulting daily rates can stretch from hundreds to even thousands of dollars. It’s no small investment.

And it comes with risk – what if the consultant doesn’t have a solution for you at the end of the day?

Con: When the Consultant Doesn’t Have the Answers

They’re not gods. Some consultants try to create a fix for every patch, but not all have the expert knowledge necessary to attack a specific problem.

There’s always a risk that the solution proposed by the consultant just doesn’t make sense.

This might be because of a lack of insight, or a lack of familiarity with new technologies. Or simply a lack of time if their time is divided between several jobs at once.

You need to be vetting hard, which equals spending time on this rather than active projects. In these circumstances, hiring a consultant can just be counter-productive.

Having a strong contract can protect you against financial loss when a consultant fails to deliver on their promises. But it doesn’t protect you against losing all the time you spent hiring and working with them.

Startup Consulting for Software

The great thing about most startups is that they’re innovative. Many use new high-tech solutions to solve problems which have been difficult to deal with in the past.

The only trouble with this is that there’s normally a dearth of appropriate software to use, as you’re working in an emerging space.

Software can be the backbone of all sorts of ventures. We know how important it is to get it right, and strive for perfection every time.

Contact us today to talk about your startup’s software needs.