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Tech Industry

Startup Secret 32: Doers over thinkers

The startup CEO has to do everything, but there's one thing especially that only the CEO can do. Consultants ideally have recent operational experience very relevant to your needs.

"No career consultants."

--Jeremy Toeman, chief product officer, Dijit Media

Sometimes you need hired guns. People with specific knowledge to help you do something no one on your team has the expertise to do. Consultants.

But when running a startup, what you need in a consultant is serious operational and practical advice, and consultants with years of, ahem, consulting experience may not be able to provide what you need. Especially in the tech startup world, the landscape can shift extremely quickly.

"You want someone in touch, not removed," advises Jeremy Toeman, chief product officer of Dijit Media and author of blog Livedigitally. The most successful client-consultant relationships happen, Jeremy says, when the consultant recently left regular work at a company that does something very close to what the client's firm does. "Find someone who does what you do."

Jeremy's advice to consultants themselves? "Don't stay a consultant for more than four years at a time." Go back and get a real job. Get your operational rating back. Get current. That way, what you'll have to give is what people really need.

Startup Secrets is based on personal interviews with, blog posts by, and and news stories about people building companies. Subscribe to Startup Secrets on Twitter or come back to Rafe's Radar every day for a new one. See all the Startup Secrets.