Management consultants turned startup founders share their advice on building a tech startup
Thinking about leaving corporate life behind? Looking for more freedom, control, and financial independence? Perhaps being a consultant has shown you that the business world isn't half as complicated as you thought, and you've played around with the thought of starting your own company. However, you're unsure if you're cut out for the startup journey.
We asked four consultant-turned-entrepreneurs about the biggest lessons they learned along the way. From what these founders have discovered about themselves since becoming an entrepreneur, to how they've used their background in consulting to build successful tech startups in less than a year, here's what they had to say.
You can move and work faster
"There's so much I learned from being a consultant that I've brought with me to Spoor. In consulting, you're delivering on an end goal, and you have to be able to work back from that goal by creating smaller goals and project steps and being completely accountable to the timeline. This level of project structure, insight, and foresight of how long something takes is completely invaluable in a startup; it helps you understand and manage the product development cycle, connect the dots quickly, and identify what resources are available," says Lorea Coronado-Garcia, co-founder and COO of Spoor.
Your skills are highly transferable
"I've worked as a project manager and consultant and both roles have been hugely relevant throughout my startup journey. When shaping your business idea, being able to lean on skills you've acquired as a consultant like doing analysis, interviewing customers, and putting together a business plan is instrumental. When your company is off the ground, you know how to implement things effectively, push big projects forward, recruit in a structured way, and how to sell a concept externally and internally. As a consultant you also learn how to come across as professional, which is a big bonus when speaking to investors and other key stakeholders," Snorre Jordheim Myhre, co-founder & CEO of Plaace.
You're comfortable operating in uncertain conditions
"Being a consultant teaches you how to learn things on the fly, jump from one thing to another, and pick up industry expertise within a very short period of time. You become comfortable with not knowing everything and making decisions with limited knowledge; you essentially do well with little. This is also the essence of being a founder — you're dropped in different situations and have to quickly pinpoint what the biggest challenges and opportunities are. My consulting background has therefore given me a really solid framework and toolbox for how to tackle startup challenges. I've also become skilled at analyzing data and that's key when you're building a company — you have to justify every decision you make and you can't do that without effectively gathering and interpreting data," Jessica Li, co-founder and CEO of Savvie.
You have laser focus
My consulting background has been extremely valuable in starting RePack for three key reasons; it teaches you how to be effective, helps you focus on value, and provides you with broad experience and expertise. It's easy to lose sight of what to focus on in a startup, and being a consultant taught me how to be effective, pragmatic, and how to spot and deliver value. You have to wear a lot of hats as a founder and the broad experience you get in consulting, from working in finance and strategy to transformation and technology really sets you up for success. Finally, you learn how to become effective at creating presentations, selling ideas, and framing complicated concepts in an easy way. This is really helpful in the early stages when you're meeting with customers, investors, or potential partners," Jørgen Sørgård Erdal, co-founder and CEO of RePack.
Must-read articles from Antler
Browse our collection of founder stories, industry insights and latest startup successes from Antler Australia
A window into progress: A look inside the world's day zero investor
As we approach the fifth anniversary of our first investments, we are excited to share A Window into Progress, a report that captures the breadth, depth, and impact of Antler’s global community, which continues to grow and strengthen through the downturn.
Carl Prins: The financier on a mission to decarbonize the global economy
Our content series "It All Starts with People" delves into the passions, motivations, and vision of the exceptional founders we have the privilege of partnering with around the world. Read the story of Carl Prins and his personal quest to help avert the climate crisis through Pathzero.
Books every founder should read in 2023
Harry Truman once said: “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” The source of myriad mental and physical benefits, it’s no wonder highly successful entrepreneurs and business leaders frequently credit obsessive reading as instrumental to their outperformance. In honor of UNESCO World Book Day, Antler is excited to share books every founder should read in 2023.
Sarah Hilmy: Inspiring friends and families to discover the world together
“Holidays are a way for you to enrich your own life. It's about going out and experiencing things that you otherwise wouldn't experience in your everyday life, trying new food, meeting new people, and just learning more about the world in a first-hand way.” —Sarah Hilmy, co-founder of travel platform Oddysee.
50 creators to watch in 2023
As the creator economy continues to grow, expand, and evolve, we've curated a list of 50 exciting leaders to watch in this space. Influencers. Journalists. Operators at prominent creator-related platforms. Founders. These are the players—seen and unseen—who underpin the global creator ecosystem.
Sharon Li & Vanessa Chen: Empowering employees to be their healthiest and most productive selves
“People sometimes think the emotional and professional are conflicting, but what we believe is when people love their organization, the emotional value will actually make them productive. It will make them give their full self to the organization and make the organization grow for the long term.” —Sharon Li, co-founder and CEO of CHOYS
The 2023 Creator Economy: A new direction
Our creator economy insights series—starting with our ultimate guide to the creator economy in May 2021—has tracked the explosion of a sector that upended the professional aspirations of the next generation. Today, as uncertainty and macroeconomic challenges pervade, how are creators pivoting and what does it mean for the sector's future?
Piet Hein van Dam: The seasoned data entrepreneur aiming to eradicate type 2 diabetes
Our content series "It All Starts with People" delves into the passions, motivations, and vision of the exceptional founders we have the privilege of partnering with around the world. Bringing a clarity of vision to our latest spotlight is Piet Hein van Dam, co-founder of Clear, the award-winning digital self-help tool for diabetes patients.