Start-up life; leap of faith or steady hop?
Nora, ex-consultant turned entrepreneur writes about the transition from consultancy into the world of start-ups. Whether you are wanting to move into a start-up or get your hands dirty and build your own company, Nora will reassure you that the leap isn’t so huge after all – but rather a very confident and steady hop that you’re more than ready to take.
We help a lot of start-ups and corporates in finding the right team member. If you are thinking about growing your team get in touch with us and we can let you know a bit more about how we work.
Nora isn’t our first guest contributor. If you are interested in what other (ex-)consultants are getting up, explore Quentin’s series of articles about Private Equity or Alex’s brutally honest series of articles on looking for a job in a start-up.
You were made for this
What you already know about entrepreneurship from consultancy and why you’re ready to make the leap.
In my last article, I mentioned that your move from consultancy to entrepreneurship made perfect sense- but paused on the encouragement to caution what a drastic shift you’d need to make in your management style. I only wanted you to be prepared!
However, I want to come back to my first statement and elaborate on exactly why you already have much of the necessary skillset to start your own venture successfully. The foundation you’ve built as a consultant puts you at a unique advantage as an entrepreneur, which is why during my days as Head of HR at Project A Ventures, I preferred placing ex-consultants as co-founders in our ventures. If you’re wavering on making the leap, I want to assure you that you’re more prepared than you perhaps imagine.
Able to communicate on an executive level
As a business coach, teaching people how to raise their level of communication is a primary focus, simply because this is the one area that otherwise totally competent people frequently struggle with. Communication abilities, including those that are non-verbal – are the foundation to support any ideas that you may wish to manifest and convey. Without them, you can’t expect others to get what you’re doing, or much less to fund what you’re doing. Developing these skills is essential for the success of your venture.
For some, it’s innate. For others, it’s a longer road to acquire. As most consultants, you’re very likely in the latter group. Learning verbal and non-verbal communication on an executive level is something that was innately part of your previous training. This is great news: the most important, and arguably most difficult to coach trait is something you’re a natural at. So hone in on those communication skills and rely on the fact that you convey confidence, regardless of with whom you’re speaking to.
Able to conceptualize a whole business plan – and break it into actionable components
You’re analytical, process and execution driven, and you know how to see a problem and conceptualize a comprehensive solution. You know how to build a solid business plan! But what’s maybe even more pertinent, is that you know how to break down the bigger picture into smaller, actionable components that can be delegated amongst a team. Visions need to be broken down into logical steps in order to be manifested. This is the only way to involve a team in making it happen since no one person can be responsible for all aspects of the development. Being able to on one hand, transparently convey a complete vision, while on the other translating this into a comprehensive plan will encourage others to get onboard and make it happen.
Knowing how to do so is a very promising skill you’ve already developed in consulting.
I mention this as the last point, but with the intention to emphasise it’s importance. This approach is so often underestimated- despite the fact that the livelihood of our products (whether B2B or B2C) relies on customers. But as a consultant, your relationship with “customers” (or clients) was one of the most important aspects of your career. You deeply understand that: no customer, no business, no venture. Happy customers who reap successful outcomes from what you’re providing leads to good business. It’s a simple fact that you as a consultant have grown a close bond with.
I hope that after all my cautioning regarding your need for a shift in leadership style, I’ve managed to emphasise how very much ready and prepared you are to make that grand leap into entrepreneurship. When I think about it, the leap isn’t so huge after all- but rather a very confident and steady hop that you’re more than ready to take. You were made for this!
– by Nora
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About the Author:
Nora Heer is the co-founder and Managing Director of Loopline Systems, a cloud software that helps managers adapt to effective leadership models. Prior to founding Loopline, Nora lead HR at Project A Ventures in Berlin, helping consultants transition into founding and managing startups within the fund. She further has over 10 years of experience in building and leading high performing and fast growing organizations, both from a business as well as a Human Resource Management perspective.
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