Allan Isfan is a co-founder of FaveQuest, a young start-up. This blog covers start-up topics.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Consulting Gigs

I speak to many bootstrapping start-ups and get the same response over and over "I consult on the side to help build my company". Company founders that are sacrificing their own income to pay others in order to deliver products and grow their company are pretty special I think and good people to have on your side.

I've been consulting ever since I left Ciena over three years ago and it has worked out very well for everyone involved. My main focus and strength is to connect companies to their potential customers to answer critical questions and ultimately achieve early market success.

In some cases, my client is exploring a new product or market and needs some early customer validation. Are we building something people will buy? If not, what do we need to change? Should we sell direct, partner or OEM/white label? Important questions I help companies answer and something I'm super passionate about.

In many cases my clients are early stage companies and launching or developing the company and first product. This is an incredibly crucial time and I help them get over the hump. I even do it pro-bono for friends and ex-colleagues in many cases ... people call, ask for help and I provide it. Don't get any ideas though ... you have to be pretty special for that to happen :)

In nearly every case, my involvement led the company to realize that what they were building wasn't the right thing. Fortunately, in many cases, the customer involvement led them to realize what they should be building instead and what the business model should be.

So what do I do to achieve success for my clients?

1. Marketing collateral
Let's face it, most collateral and especially Powerpoint presentations suck ... very badly. I'm very good at this and help companies boil down their messaging to the key value proposition .... especially from the perspective of their potential customer.

2. Customer engagement
At the early stages, meeting directly with potential customers is key. I tap my extensive network of contacts that range from media companies to Telecom carriers as necessary to help initiate a first meeting.

I have often led the initial meetings, including presenting the company or product. I dig in deep and become part of your team. After the initial three or four meetings with a particular customer, I tend to move to the background to promote a deeper relationship between your company and the customer.

3. Pre-sales
I don't do pure sales for companies but have been directly involved in the pre-sales aspect many times. This includes research (who are the potential customers, names and numbers, hot buttons and customer motivation), strategy, collateral creation and initial customer interaction.

I have deep experience in the Telecom world and dealing directly with carriers but my last four years have been focused on the web including on-line strategy, video, social networks and media, and e-commerce. I blog and tweet heavily and am deeply entrenched in on-line worlds. FaveQuest is a social media platform which helps brands, especially those in the media and entertainment space, tap social networks and utilities.

Feel free to check me out on linkedin or better yet google me :)


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