Should I have the support of a consultant for my business and how do I choose one?

When we are in an entrepreneurial project, a question that arises; Should I have external support to give my effort greater structure and certainty?

The common thought is: “I am very intelligent, I do not need anyone”, which is aligned to the intrinsic characteristics of an entrepreneur and self-confidence, or perhaps: “I do not need it, I know everything about my project”, although you have to understand that there are a series of relevant columns in the support of a business such as; the technical part, the business part, the market part and the people who make it up, where it must be recognized that it is difficult to master or have experience in all these aspects yourself or in conjunction with the partners that make up the venture. For this reason, you should always take advantage of having additional support and continue learning the business concepts that comprise it.

When exploring the option of external support, several feasible alternatives are presented, some in a slightly more informal way or to offer specific advice, as they are; people from my warm circle, social network contacts or other entrepreneurs, although you can also count on the more structured support of public incubators, industry clusters or universities, which offer it free of charge. If you are starting, it is the best option.

However, there is also the option of investing some capital to be supported by Incubators, Accelerators or Business Consultants, private and specialized. The initial perception is that; “They are very expensive”, or “He only wants to involve me with strange processes and without adding value, to collect his payment”.

It is important to know the rationale that supports its feasibility. Some of these aspects are:

  • Reduce the risks of your investment.

You will have a different vision that helps to perceive aspects not contemplated, which can validate the investments in capital goods that are contemplated or avoid it. If an uninformed decision is made, then there may be no going back, and it will generate losses that put the entire project at risk.

  • Provides a detailed development structure and agenda.

It has a specific methodology as a “Check-list” that will lead you to cover all the relevant aspects, step by step, that you must cover for the best development of your business.

  • Experience.

A specialized consultant has the accumulation of experience from many enterprises, the ability to detect problems or risks of your enterprise faster and give suggestions for solutions.

  • Find a better business model.

By reviewing the key aspects of your business, you can find opportunities for improvement that could give your business greater sustainability, making it more efficient and effective.

  • Complements knowledge.

It will surely provide knowledge where you may have areas of opportunity or lack them, developing your ability to manage your project.

  • Offer “Cold” Opinions.

El desarrollo de un nuevo negocio conlleva una gran carga emotiva sobre tu propuesta de valor, que puede nublar tus decisiones, pero un consultor es más objetivo en sus observaciones y opiniones.

  • Provides greater momentum.

The certainty that a qualified validation can offer, can bring a greater positive energy, and increase personal impulse for the continuity of your venture.

  • Knowledge of the ecosystem.

By participating directly in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, the consultant can offer additional contacts to support your work, from industry specialists for consultation to linking you with potential investors such as: Angel Investors or Venture Capitals to contribute capital, which could be facilitated by validating your proposed by an external.

If you decide to get help from a private consultant to support you, there are a number of considerations that you can take into account to evaluate and select it:

– Academic preparation,

– Professional experience,

– Past clients and successful ventures supported,

– If he has been a company founder,

– If he has participated in boards of directors,

– Associations to which he belongs or is related,

– Methodology that he uses,

– Detailed support development program,

– Possible connections to contribute,

– Work team,

– His attitude and passion about your project, as if it were his own.

Much of this information could be obtained with a simple investigation on their website or on their social networks, as well as contacting entrepreneurs that they have previously supported.

For their compensation, they can present different schemes such as 50% advance payment and 50% at the end of the service, equal fixed payment distributed during the support period, even acceptance of a shareholding in the venture. The best recommended option would be the payments scheduled in time, since, if it does not offer you a good service, you could cancel it, limiting yourself to “losing” only a fraction of the total requested to invest.

As in the development aspects of your enterprise, in order to reduce the risks of the decisions that are made, if you have not had this support, you can start the process with those that represent a lower cost (risk) and later invest in a specialized one, hiring an external consultant, following a process of evaluating alternatives for the aforementioned factors.

In one way or another, you should always have this support to give your business sustainability.

Look to always have it!

Alejandro A. Alanís D.

Consultor Senior en Innovación Empresarial y Emprendimiento por más de 12 años, luego de ocupar cargos comerciales y de marketing, en empresas nacionales e internacionales durante 25 años.