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5 key-value external consultant can bring to startup

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Being a first generation entrepreneur or one trying to monetize on a disruptive idea, can be quite a challenging task. Although there has been a steady growth in terms of entrepreneurship and in India, thanks to the supportive socio-political environment, a lot of startups fail, despite raising initial round of funding. Business consultants or external business auditors can help entrepreneurs give effective shape to their business ideas and support them with the knowledge and experience, to move their concept forward.

Business consultants for startups are generally successful entrepreneurs themselves, with a proven track record of success across multiple sectors and can add tremendous value to an entrepreneur, including:

Industry experience

Coming from a background of diverse set of businesses, an external business consultant can bring valuable insights and experience to the table. These can include nuances about talent acquisition and retention, optimizing operational costs, instinctive understanding of potential clients as well as identifying and fixing loopholes in the business approach and processing. Further, having an external perspective on things can help build a comparative sense of growth that is vital for a long term and effective success trajectory.

Impersonal perspective

As a person with no direct interest and investment in the company, a business consultant can point out flaws or drawbacks that are the essential roadblocks to business growth, irrespective of the people behind it. As a consultant, they also offer an unbiased and objective perspective, which can go a long way in making or breaking a startup.

Long term vision and road map

Most entrepreneurs start a business with a goal to monetize their ideas and scale it up into a successful business. They accordingly draw up a road map for the growth. However, keeping in mind the dynamic business and political environment around them, these road maps need to be constantly modified so as to reflect the most relevant needs of the business. This is where a business consultant can provide timely advice so as to ensure there is not only an objective plan but also a larger, more relevant vision and growth map.

Problem solving

As a startup, challenges and roadblocks are met on an almost daily basis. Although these are common, an entrepreneur often gets bogged down or lost into the task of fixing it, most likely on the short term basis. And then these may arise again, demanding a larger chunk of productive time and man-hours to be solved. As an external consultant, the person can help identify the root cause and navigate through issues in a manner that is permanent or at least more effective, thereby enhancing productivity, and streamlining processes.

Fund raising and scaling up

Invariably a time comes in the business cycle of every startup when they need to approach PE investors and venture capitalists. Preparing presentations and showcasing the best of the company performance etc., can be a crucial time. While creating the backgrounders and getting the documents in place requires meticulous effort, an external business consultant can help draw out an effective presentation plan, verify and help showcase key achievements in an impactful manner, while also sometimes being liaison between the potential investors and entrepreneurs.

As per the government portal, India has the 2rd largest startup ecosystem in the world and is expected to witness YoY growth of 10-12%. However, as per a report by IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford Economics, about 90% Indian startups fail within the first five years due to varied reasons, including lack of innovation and a sustained business plan. Under such circumstances, getting an external business consultant who is also a seasoned entrepreneur with proven track record for success, can be a critical component to success.

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Vipul Agarwal
Vipul Agarwal
Vipul Agarwal is startup mentor, serial investor and consultant. He is also head of Tringo Solutions
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