Entrepreneurs, who have clear goals and a strong vision about their company, easily fall into the trap of I-know-it-all mentality. One of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs can make is to believe that they are always right and they have it all under control.
Of course, not everything that you hear has to be taken into consideration, but at least be open-minded enough to listen and filter the information you receive. Entrepreneurs, who have the right mentors and advisors tend to perform better than the rest, who believe they are always right.
More and more entrepreneurs prefer to hire consultants instead of full-time employees, which in many cases, makes a lot of sense, which makes hiring consultants a critical element of running a startup. Startups are overloaded and the full-time team even with the help of freelancers still struggles to achieve all goals.
It is even more difficult for the founders and startup CEOs, who have so much on their plate. From product development through sales and shipping to fundraising, it is a lot of work and everything is of high priority.
Even though the perception of consultants is of people who have self-proclaimed themselves to be experts, the truth is that consultants can bring a lot of value to the company if you run away from prejudice thoughts and engage with them properly.
Consulting services don’t come cheap, yet you should think of hiring one as an investment. Startups, especially newly created ones by first-time entrepreneurs, struggle to keep their competitive edge. Hiring an outside expert in the specific field that you need help can revitalize the startup, can help you to run the business more effectively, and to innovate more.
To prevent spending a lot of money on a consultant and achieve no or minimum results, one of the best agreements you can make is a pay-for-performance agreement. The consultants will only profit from the job if the target is achieved and the final results are satisfying. Of course, to be sure that the consultant will be interested in accepting such conditions, you need to set reasonable milestones and maybe a small flat commission.
This process of setting reasonable milestone takes a while and requires a research to be conducted. Make sure that the numbers you ask for make sense. Be open to discuss these numbers with the consultant in order to explain why you think these expected results are achievable. Overall, pay-for-performance consulting contributes to the startup in the long run as it focuses on results.
Customized action plan
Nowadays, there are so many free resources online, provided by top experts in all fields, making it very easy for the entrepreneurs to learn the best practices of any topic they are interested in. After all, having access to information is valuable, but what is more valuable is the creation of an execution plan that puts the knowledge into action to create real results.
Consultants will study fundamentally your business and will help you to craft an action-oriented strategy to solve the problem or to achieve the specific goal. The personalized experience that working with the right consultant gives beats reading dozens of books on a specific topic.
Pass on the expertise
The accepted belief is that if you want to call yourself an expert in a certain field, you need to have at least 1,000 hours of experience working in that field. Looking at an approximate of a 40-hours work week, these are at least 5 years of experience.
Startup founders can’t be experts in all fields that are important for running a business – from sales through accounting to marketing and so on. And, in most cases, they aren’t able to pay full wage and benefits to experts to fill the key positions. Then, the best way to receive expertise is to hire a consultant.
Working with a consultant is a great way to receive expert level service and to learn from a pro. Hiring a consultant is an investment, especially if you are able to learn from their expertise. As a startup founder, you need to be constantly learning and working shoulder to shoulder with an expert will help you broaden your knowledge.
Remember: “You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.” /Chinese Proverb/.