Startup Consultant

“The first step is discovery, and discovery to me meant you need to discover whether your assumptions about the customer problem you’re solving or the customer need you’re fulfilling are correct.”

– Steve Blank

What is a Startup Consultant?

A startup consultant advises founders of early-stage businesses. Startup consultants have knowledge and experience to help founders turn ideas into early revenue. A good consultant will save founders time and money by avoiding costly mistakes.

Customer Discovery Process

As a startup consultant, I have developed a three-step customer discovery process. Customer discovery is a process that starts by investigating the high-level strategic market opportunity. The next step involves digging deeper and finding specific tactical sales opportunities by identifying individual customers. Finally, the third step of the process uses marketing experiments to validate assumptions. The diagram below illustrates the customer discovery process.

Is there a Market Opportunity?

A market research study is the first step in the customer discovery process. The study will capture the market dynamics and make some defensible assumptions about your customer.

Is there a Sales Opportunity?

Identifying specific sales opportunities is the next step in the customer discovery process. I help you find customers with budget and authority to make a buying decision.

Is there a Repeatable Sales Pattern?

The third step in the customer discovery process is to uncover a repeatable sales pattern. Marketing experiments test if the assumptions regarding customer and problem are correct.

How Can a Startup Consultant Help?

Market Research Study

Is there a strategic market opportunity for your startup idea? A market research study will help you determine if a market opportunity exists.

Market Opportunity

Is there a tactical sales opportunity for your startup idea? A market opportunity analysis will determine if sales opportunities exist.

startup consultant

Market Entry Strategy

A market entry strategy is a plan to acquire customers and grow sales. A good market entry strategy will carefully consider resources and constraints.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a startup consultant and a management consultant?

A startup consultant helps founders navigate market uncertainty. On the other hand, a management consultant works with established firms to implement change and manage risk. The key differences between a startup consultant and a management consultant are uncertainty versus risk and existing versus emerging market.

How long does it take to conduct a market research study or market opportunity analysis?

The time required depends on the complexity of the market. The analysis is an iterative process that usually involves “surprises.” The total time from start to finish is usually two to six weeks.

How long does it take to conduct a market entry strategy?

The startup consultant and client usually agree on a time frame to complete the study. I will aim to achieve as many customer interviews within a fixed period (four to six weeks) as possible. Then, at the end of the time constraint, we can decide whether or not more data is required.

Ian Paul Graham

Startup Founder Coach & Consultant