Thou Shall Build A Startup Board of Advisors


As an entrepreneur or startup, it’s vital to build an incredible board of advisors. Select advisors that are smart, experienced, invested, and willing to assist you in the beginning years and beyond of your startup.

One of the mistakes I made, was not securing official advisors. Although, I did have some awesome people, great working people who gave me their time, ear, and guidance once in awhile. But it wasn’t enough. They would casually provide advice, yet all I would be left with is just that. Advice. Yet, no one to help me carry the burden of my new enlightened mind, and all of the ideas it carried, simply waiting for execution.

I quickly realized that in order to build a sustainable business, I needed a steadfast board of people, who not only provided advice but would guide me through the process.

In my process of choosing board members, I quickly realized I didn’t have a script or guide in helping me choose advisory board members. Irrespective, I went forward, made some mistakes and also made some awesome splashes!  I figured I’d put a few tips together, to help others in choosing their board members. Here are some of things you should consider when choosing your board:

 

BE SELECTIVE :

Each advisor should have experience working with startups or companies in your industry. Since they’ll be acquiring a small amount of equity you must make sure they have a great deal of knowledge, connections, or experience to bring to the table.  Being noteworthy, experts, and credible authorities in a specific industry will help.

 

BE STRATEGIC:

Each advisor should be selected based on your short and long term goals. Also, ensure that advisors don’t have similar brands or company types they are advisors for. Irrespective of confidentiality agreements, I’d believe that humans are humans. Mistakes and miscommunication may occur. You never, ever want to place people in a position where they may unintentionally repeat information or advise to a competitor.

 

SEEK CHAMPIONS, NOT JUST ADVISORS:

Select advisors that are not going to provide you with advice or words of encouragements. Select advisors who will actively ensure that each advise or idea is accompanied by actionable steps. And for those steps you’ll take on unfamiliar territory,they’ll be there to guide you.

 

 

REWARD THEM:

Listen, people love feeling appreciated. Find secure ways to reward them. Maybe it’s recognizing them at a banquet, a charity event, or other. Another way, is ensuring they are provided a mention on social media platforms, and or any public display of acknowledgement you may think of. Be careful however. Not every advisor wants this type of recognition. Some are private people. If this is the case, send gift baskets, and or handwritten letters.

 

BE PATIENT:

Depending on your needs, you should patient ( I understand some needs might be urgent. I’d advise not to allow it to get to that point before reaching out to advisors. But that’s a different conversation.). Not all things you require advisors will immediately come to fruition. Trust is something that must be built overtime, and your advisor may need to feel you out a bit, before providing you with all that you need. Also, do keep in mind that if advisors attempt to secure a few things on your behalf, and it doesn’t pan out, don’t allow this to be immediate grounds for dismissal or advisory role dissolution.  Be patient.

 

BE CONSIDERATE:

Those who you provide the honor of joining your board, will have a full schedule. Be considerate of their schedule, resourceful with their time, and come prepared, structured, and on point to all meetings.

 


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