HI there – good to get this context. I am thinking through some options:
On your consulting business – (1) are you on Linked In, that is a good place to lay some crumbs or stories for your consulting business and tag some of the people you have worked with (2) ask your past clients to recommend any other people you could talk too (3) see what other work they may have and (4) think about what other consultants in the market you might team up with to collaborate on jobs.
On your startup – validation of the market is really important to get clear on what the real need and pain point is – yes, you can start with a view or hypothesis around the point of differentiation but it is only when your market, your target, your sweet spot says this that you know you have a point of difference that people value. There are some great resources on-line around validating your market with an interview approach to your target market, understanding how they do what they do now, not immediately selling your idea into them – understand them first. Check out Zero to One as a book by Peter Thiel – it is tech but still good, or try Dr Rob Adams wrote a book called If you Build it will they come? Or try the Lean Startup series of tools. There is also things like Business Mentors if you want a deeper relationship with a full-time mentor or depending on where you are based – you could approach your local EDA who provide mentoring.
Hope that helps – Andy