Ep 23: Startup consulting – Why founders should have an advisor – with David Risselborn

david risselbornManaging a business is a tough job. You have to make critical decisions every single day. This is why big firms have relied on the expertise of consulting companies for many years. But when it comes to startups, most founders don’t have the proper support to guide their decision process. They receive advice from friends and family, but not all feedback is good feedback.

To talk about it, I was pleased to sit with my friend David Risselborn. He has experience advising companies of all size, from multinationals to startups. David used to work as a consultant for McKinsey and learned frameworks and methodologies to analyse businesses. He also has an entrepreneur background that he leveraged doing consulting with startups.

David is therefore very familiar with the common questions and problems that companies are facing. He explains how overcoming these issues, whether business or management related, differ depending on their size. While big firms have the financial resources to find solutions to their problems, they are pretty slow compared to startups when it comes to implementing the required changes.

David also talks about the importance of market feedback. He explains the importance for startups of releasing products fast although imperfect. He also goes through the best ways to get proper consumer feedback, and how to dissociate what to listen from what to ignore.

We talk about the importance of having processes within any organisation, including startups. While their agility is a strength, startups are also very prone to making mistake because of their lack of proper internal structure. So I’m asking David what types of process are most appropriate? And in which cases flexibility should prevail over optimisation?

In this episode we discuss about the importance for startups to have an advisor. After all, startup founders too need help. They need somebody with no emotional connection to their business to guide them in their decision. They need someone to ask them the hard questions.

Question: Which area would you like to get some advice for your business / project? (reply in the comments)

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  • (2:40) Presentation of David
  • (4:37) Consulting for startups vs. big companies
  • (7:29) Releasing an imperfect product
  • (9:55) A strong vision vs. listening to the market
  • (16:32) Prioritize and focus
  • (21:06) Processes and optimisation in small companies
  • (26:20) The value and limit of openness
  • (31:10) Current venture: planning tool for teachers
  • (36:06) Advice and emotional connection
  • (41:48) Advisor, persons to ask the hard questions
  • (43:20) Singapore, Sweden and Japan startup ecosystems
  • (53:10) Quick-fire questions

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