UX strategy consulting for startups is different from large business consulting.

UX Strategy means different things to different people, and UX strategy consulting for startups is one of those grey areas when it comes actually to defining what it is. There are many UX strategies you can adopt based on what problem you need to solve and what stage your business is at.

UX strategy involves a lot more than only improving your product user interface. (Many wrongly merge UX into the same bucket as UI. The two are related but different.) UX is an investigative and analytical approach to ensuring you have a measurable roadmap that incrementally meets business goals while also solving problems for your users.

A strategy is a solution, and a plan is all rolled into one. As a startup, you need to factor in different aspects as part of your UX strategy than what a scaleup or established company would need to. Startups have many moving parts that established companies have likely already figured out. Your budget is probably smaller, but the risk involved in spending that budget is much greater than more established businesses with money to spend.

In this article, I explain why UX strategy consulting for startups differs significantly from large business consulting.

Types of problems UX Strategy consulting solve

  • Acquisition and Conversion
  • Activation and Onboarding
  • Feature adoption and education
  • Engagement and Retention
  • Growth (“Product Led”)
  • Happiness and Satisfaction
  • Roadmap Prioritation and Focus
  • Development team delivery
  • Branding
  • The list goes on!

Why is startup UX strategy different?

Before we look at why UX Strategy is different, lets first look at why startups are different from larger businesses that have also generally been around for longer.

  • You have a small team and rely on a few team members who do many roles
  • Your roadmap is long-term, but you lack clarity on what to do next
  • You don’t have marketing or sales
  • Your development team is smaller/slower and might be outsourced
  • You haven’t found product-market fit
  • You lack funding to invest back into the company

You have a small team and rely on a few team members who do many roles

You have very few contact points within your team and usually communicate regularly. This is great for collaboration and team culture. Still, a symptom of this communication abundance is it is very easy to lose focus on the priority at hand as new issues are coming up every day.

Your roadmap is long-term, but you lack clarity on where to focus

You have a fantastic vision and know the features you need to reach that vision. Your backlog is overflowing, and the list keeps growing. Customer feedback keeps coming in, and you can’t keep up with all the feature requests! …. ok, take a breath. You need to slow down to speed up. You’ll never make progress by focusing on so many things. Factoring in UX strategy consulting to your process will help you sort out the clutter and determine what activities will be the most impactful for your customers and your business.

You don’t have marketing or sales

Many excellent products fail based on not enough people being exposed to them. Founders spend countless hours and dollars building an “MVP” or “Beta” release only to find out nobody is there to use it yet. You may have a world-class app or product with perfect UX, but if nobody is using it, you may as well have done it for nothing. You might be getting in front of people, but they never seem to signup or buy. This could be because of your communication, conversion, adoption, onboarding etc. All of these can be solved with UX Strategy consulting to find the product market fit you need and build a strategy to get you in front of prospects that will buy, use and advocate for your product.

Your development team is smaller/slower and might be outsourced

You can have the perfect vision and strategy, but if you don’t have the development support to execute that strategy, you’ll have a long road ahead before seeing any success. This is, unfortunately, a constraint with most technology startups unless you have funding. Building software gets very expensive very quickly. The small development team you have is a valuable resource and critical for your business. If you don’t have the funds to build out this capability, you need to adapt around this constraint and work with what you have. UX strategy consulting will help you validate the work before you write code. The UX consultant will iterate and test your solution before your development team implements it. This is a much cheaper option than building and testing live code. Another component of UX strategy consulting is setting up and optimizing design operations so your dev team has clear UI elements and patterns to use when solving technical problems. This will remove some redundant UI-related decisions developers need to make, allowing them to focus on technical problems. It also keeps the UI consistent for your users and reduces codebase, therefore, future technical debt.

You haven’t found product-market fit

Product market fit is when your business has found steady growth in recurring sales due to solving a problem within a market. Most startups are founded based on a whim. The founder/s probably have experience with a problem or have an idea they think has a chance at being successful. This is a perilous stage for founders. If you haven’t validated the market need before investing your time and money, you are betting big that the market thinks the same as you. This, unfortunately, is unlikely. If your startup is at this stage, you should consider UX strategy consulting to help you validate you have a need and a market that are willing to pay for your product before you invest too much.

You lack funding to invest back into the company

You might be thinking, “doesn’t every startup lack funding” that’s what makes it a startup, right? Well, yes but even early-stage, small startups with very low budgets are still spending something. Even if that cost is purely time at this stage (Arguably the most valuable of currencies). It would be best if you planned by considering how you get more money in the door to fund your vision. We can’t all be like Atlassian and be self-funded unicorns without needing sales. You need to either bring in more paying customers quickly or consider raising some money. User Experience consulting can set your business up to raise capital.


You might be thinking you now need ux design consulting. If you relate to any of the above problems, you should consider reaching out and talking to a ux strategy consulting firm. If you’d like to learn more about the UX strategy consulting I offer, view my services here.