“Chose an Advisor that doesn’t limit themselves. Many people limit themselves to what they think you can do. You can go as far as can imagine – have a Vision for”.
“What you conceive & believe, you will achieve.”
Topics for choosing Advisors: Their Success, Struggled? Focus, Invest? Learn, Working both Sides,
Advisory Bored ??? No, you want to make it interesting for them, so the feel they can make a contribution. One of the first questions many Founders ask is whether and when they should form an Advisory Board. One or more Advisors can be valuable extended members of you Management team. Good Advisors can share their experience on a range of subjects – technology, go-to-market, personnel, etc. – and they can make introductions to customers and potential employees. They lend their personal reputation to early stage companies and can even mentor you and other new executives.
How much time an Advisor spends with your company is not nearly as important as the quality of advice they offer you. If you have gotten to the point where you are seeking a formal mode of advice, here are seven questions to ask about someone interested in advising your company.
1. What kind of Success have they had?
While most companies do not look for people whose last venture was a colossal fireball – (although I think there is as much to learn in how people fail, as much as in how they win) – there is a natural temptation to look for Advisors who came from successful companies. (Who doesn’t want advice from people who were early Advisors at big winners like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, or VMware?) When analyzing candidate’s experience, even though, it is important to look not only at where they worked, but also at their position and what impact they had on the company and its decision making.
2. Are they ‘Business successful’ or just ‘Social Media famous’?
One of the strangest phenomena of today’s tech scene is that there is a raft of amazing well-known people whose popularity does not have any connection to actual results. Some of the best mentors over the years are virtually unknown outside their own sphere of influence and worked in companies that would be considered un-cool today (my first great boss was at IBM). Just because a person has “social” influence doesn’t mean they’ll be able to advise on “business-critical” decisions.
3. Have they struggled before?
So much of being a good advisor comes through empathizing with the Founders and management team of a company. Some of the most valuable lessons, can be learned from failure. One occurred while serving on the Advisory Board of a company that went through Chapter 11 and emerged as a “vibrant” company. Although I have been in four startups now. Now I know why Thomas Edison said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”
4. Can they Focus on your “unique situation?
“Remember when” is the lowest form of conversation.” While you are hiring an advisor for their guidance, they need to understand your unique situation. Is your potential advisor too old school that they are not keeping up with current trends.
Before signing on any advisor, it is important to spend time together to make sure you get the right fit. If both parties are interested, it should be fun.
5. Are they interested enough to Invest?
The most common advisory relationships are consummated over an equity grant. Before you hand over your hard-earned equity to an Advisor, you should have a corresponding requirement: Advisors should have (financial) “skin in the game”. You want them to think like an Owner or Founder – and not like someone who has some free shares in the company. This means investing in the company (or at least purchasing their shares). If an Advisor will not make an investment in your dream, why should they be around for the ride? As said in the Jerry McGuire movie, “You bet on me like I bet on you.”
6. Will they Learn from the experience?
Advisory relationships should not be just about financials – they are not one way. Advisors benefit from spending time with you and learning about your company and space, too. Personal chemistry is always a critical part of all working relationships and while they should care about you, you should also care about them.
7. Are they working “both sides of the ??? Trade”?
While it is tempting to find Advisors in your market or technology segment, try to avoid “conflicts“ in an advisor’s current role or responsibilities. Most technology categories are broad, so you shouldn’t have issues finding Advisors who are close enough to your challenges, but not competing for the same dollars. Sometimes an advisor may have just exited from your niche (although you must ask what they are like if they are willing to turn around and compete with their former employer). While Advisors are not technically Board of Director members, it’s better to follow that standard when selecting about Advisors. Look up the bylaws of any public company and you will find language that refers to “duty of care” and “duty of loyalty.”
Comments: Do you have any other Guidance in choosing an Advisor?
compiled by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz & 5 Star Startup Services
For more Info, click on Advisors.
“Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.
“It’s not just about having a great idea. It’s about making ideas happen.”
“Get a few of your smartest friends in a room and ask them what they think of your idea. Use the good feedback.”
“Don’t only try to be original: It’s better to be good.”
“If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.”
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
“When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably the best one to pursue.”
“Starting a company is like jumping off a cliff and assembling the airplane on the way down.”