This two-part series is written by David El-Achkar, an ex-McKinsey consultant and part of the MCN's Advisory Board. Haven't read Part 1? Check it out here. David is an engineer by degree, a consultant by experience, and an entrepreneur at heart. He also puts everyone to shame by being the world healthiest man. He writes for his personal blog, which you should absolutely check out here. His full bio is at the end of the article.
How 2 Years in Consulting Both Helped and Hindered My Startup Adventure: Part 2
Now that I’ve mentioned the benefits of moving from consulting to startups, it’s time to talk about the flip side, how consulting made things more difficult.
How Consulting Hindered My Startup Progress
A Large Company Once Said: Just do it!
A common criticism of consulting is that it’s all strategy and no implementation. Consultants come in, analyze from 10,000 feet above, hand over slides with recommendations, and move on. This isn’t entirely true, but when I compare the work of a consultant to that of an entrepreneur, this exaggeration helps highlight how different the roles of each are.
My experience in consulting has taught me to be very meticulous and thorough when evaluating decisions—sometimes to a fault. On several occasions, I catch myself over-analyzing to the point of paralysis. This can prove to be a dangerous habit in the startup world.
The cost of an error in early stage companies is low. The underlying reason is that small size and nimbleness allows for quick detection of errors and rapid course-correction where needed. Hence, in a startup, I am better off quickly executing on decisions rather than cautiously over analyzing and vetting them. The insights I gain from evaluating actual outcomes are significantly greater than those gained from evaluating hypothetical scenarios. Often times, the best and only way forward is to just get your hands dirty.