Business Skills for the Consultancy Start Up

by | Sep 19, 2013 | General, Business Growth Tips Blog, Success Mindset

Work Life Balance Cartoon

Note From Yoon:  

It’s interesting the uptick I’ve been seeing of people leaving the corporate world to start their own consultancy firm or solo consulting practice. I’d say half of my consultant clients fell into becoming an entrepreneur after becoming a victim of wide spread lay off’s. The other half of my consultant clients chose to leave the corporate world in pursuit of a better work life balance… (this cartoon strip I found says it all!). 
Work Life Balance CartoonBoth would unanimously agree that keeping their high paying executive jobs became more and more high pressure with grueling demands on their time. 
Starting your own consulting practice can be very rewarding giving your full reign over your time and income. In today’s article I want to share with you some tips for the consultancy startup. 



Business Skills for the Consultancy Start Up

It may seem tempting to launch a consultancy startup rather than go to work for a traditional business. You’re your own boss, and all that you need is a group of fellow fledgling entrepreneurs, a dry erase board, a dream and a little seed money to put your innovation into action.

However, the real truth is that the lean startup model has a success rate of about 25 percent, according to research by Shikhar Ghosh, a Harvard Business School lecturer. If you are exchanging a steady shot at a corner office for a high-risk-high-reward startup consulting venture, you may need to assess your business school training to ensure you have the right stuff.

#1. Soft Skills: Maintain professionalism


You may have heard stories about Google programmers who walk around Silicon Valley wearing old T-shirts and long underwear because they are so valuable to the company. With a reputation for cultural creativity and out of the box thinking, startups can be more compelling than the traditional corporate model, but you have to learn the rules before you can break them.

  • Be on time.
  • Dress your best.
  • Confidently present yourself to potential colleagues, clients and investors.

In a competitive startup culture, keeping these areas tightly organized on your own without corporate pressure guiding you is challenging and essential.

#2. Select compatible colleagues

In a startup, you need to take on the a human resources role and decide who will complement your skills and accomplish your mutual goals together. Search websites that can help you network and meet someone with similar business plans. Such as:

#3. Reduce the scale: short-term analysis


In the beginning stage of a startup:

  • Launch the research and development
  • Acquire potential customer feedback
  • Make iteration changes daily

This is different than the analysis and planning you learn in business school intended for established businesses with a long-term outlook and slower, sustainable changes. If you try to logically find a solution from beginning to end on a dry erase board, the long-term projections will fall flat in the testing and development phase. Implementing quick changes is part of the inherent high risk and reward model.

#4. Accounting

Accounting is the same. Business schools often use three-to five-year financial projections, NYU B-school graduate Brett Nelson told “Forbes” magazine. Some businesses actually use 30-year projections. A startup can estimate the cost of salaries and office operations, but in the beginning the cost of producing the product or service, compared with the return on investment, is more intuitive than planned.

A startup usually has a lower seed cost than a brick-and-mortar new business because the model begins small and eventually advances with technology and mass implementation, which is where the investor money comes in.

At that point you will need to:

  • Hire the attorney, accountant, insurance agent and other professionals
  • In the beginning, bring out the dry erase board and your colleagues, and get to work! Explore all options and opportunities. What are your goals? What are your colleagues’ goals?
  • Include business insurance that not only protects your assets, but also offers coverage for particular issues that a startup may be susceptible, such as data breach and interruption insurance.

Keep in mind also that your MBA skills will begin to pay off once a startup begins to grow into a larger version of itself that resembles the scale of a larger corporation. In the meantime, shelve the long-term planning and focus on the tasks at hand, one day at a time.

QUESTION: What one business skill has been vital to you succeeding as a startup consultant? 

About Yoon Cannon: Top business coach Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and sales teams achieve dramatic results in growing your business. Over the past 20 years Yoon has started 4 successful companies and sold 3 of them. She offers fresh insights as a seasoned business growth expert. Yoon delivers proven process for your sales, marketing and management development.  Grab free valuable gifts and resources at  To book Yoon to speak at your next event email: To schedule a complimentary business coaching consultation call (215) 292-4947. 
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