You’ve got an idea for a new product, a new startup venture.  Who do you talk to?  Obviously, the first people you’ll want to run to and brag about are those closest to you – friends, family, the UPS man, whoever.  At this point you’re looking for encouragement, for validation, and you’ll get it.  After you’re nice and inflated, you’ll need to talk with someone who can actually help take your idea to the next level – that’s where the Los Angeles startup consultant comes in.

Here are 5 ways they can make the entrepreneur’s life easier:

THE LEGWORK – Defining and refining your idea

As of right now, your idea likely exists as either a featureless lump of clay or a previously molded piece of clay that’s already dried out and beginning to crumble.  An experienced startup consultant can help you define what works about your idea, but even better, they can help you identity what doesn’t. You might not have the tools available to do the vital things like detailed market analysis.  A consultant worth their weight does.

An important note here is that you’ll want to come prepared.  A consultant is going to give you a lot to go on; you want to make sure you have resources in place to execute quickly or your idea could easily languish in development hell.

THE EXPERIENCE – A little hand holding goes a long way

There’s no substitution for experience.  You drive a road long enough, you’re going to know where the potholes are.  It’s important, however, to find a startup consultant that is tailored suited to your needs.  If you want to build a mobile app, your consultant should have successfully built or helped launch apps in the past.  They need a proven track record.  Do your research on your consultant, and find one that has already done years of their own research in the market you’re looking to get into, make sure they fit your niche.  And just as important, find someone that shares your spirit and is passionate about their field.  They are there to fill knowledge gaps, so they have to have that knowledge to begin with.

Also, remember that the more in-demand a consultant is the greater the possibility that they’re spreading themselves too thin.  This could keep your startup from getting the attention it needs.  This all goes back to doing your research.

THE RISK – Save yourself some heartache

Here’s something you might not want to hear.  Most startups fail.  There are so many variables, so much that changes on a weekly basis (market shifts being a primary example).  Jumping in head first can lead to a broken neck when you find out the market pool is shallower than anticipated.  Producing a product can take months, maybe a year, before it’s ready for release.  That’s a lot of time and a lot of money.  If you’re developing a dud, you’re sunk before you even get started.  A consultant will help you create a plan that will give your idea the best chance at success.  It’s a smaller commitment upfront to fully vet and challenge your idea and make sure it’s worthwhile.

Keep in mind, there are still no guarantees, but hopefully you won’t be out hundreds of thousands of dollars.

THE FRONTLINE – A finger on the pulse of the market heartbeat

A startup consultant shouldn’t be leading from behind.  If you’re looking for a tech consultant, they should be entrenched in the world of tech.  They should know what’s new, what’s on the horizon, what’s on the horizon’s horizon.  That knowledge is key when designing your product or mapping your startup.  New trends in technology change rapidly, but it’s their job to know the current marketplace climate.  They should be putting their energy into their own education, not just giving advice from on high.

Still make sure your consultant is listening more than they speak.  Don’t let their ideas overshadow yours – that’s not their role.

THE IMPLEMENTATION – Your startup blueprint ready to roll

A startup consultant shouldn’t just be throwing numbers and hard data you.  They should be turning it into an actionable plan.  That’s what you need, the numbers are only numbers; it’s the plan that really counts.  You should walk away from your time with a consultant with a crystal clear idea on how to execute on your idea.  Anything less isn’t worth your time or money.

You’re blazing new trails, but it’s good to have a roadmap.

Photo Credit:

CEO and Co-founder of Rootstrap Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Rootstrap, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.