Many entrepreneurs start off as consultants to pay the bills while they explore business opportunities.
Working as consultants gives them visibility into business problems, build proximity with customers and allow them to develop domain expertise in their consulting field which can then be leveraged to build startup success.
They can do customer discovery with their clients, learn about an opportunity and create a productized — standardized — solution when they see an opportunity.
This approach is a great way to bootstrap a startup with consulting revenues. It was successfully leveraged by many startups, including social media dashboard company HootSuite.
Hootsuite started as Invoke, a company that did web application development and social marketing before it created a social media tool for its customers.
They learned and iterated the product with their consulting client base and grew the company from a Lean Startup to a global leader in social media with millions of users and many Fortune 100 customers.
Starting off as a consulting firm can be a great way to reduce the risks of starting up while growing a business. To get out of consulting however, your solution must be scalable. It’s important to keep that in mind.
Here’s a great talk by entrepreneur Alex Cowan on Getting from Consulting to Scalable Products:
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