Startups · Advisory boards

How to find good advisors?


August 31st, 2016

Advisors are very important to startups, especially in the early days. Could you share from your experience, how to find good advisors and bring them on boards?

Michael Hartzell Entrepreneur, Addicted to "Yes" - When Everyone Wins

August 31st, 2016

To understand their character and expertise, there are many opportunities to sample the goods.

Associations / Memberships
What others say (social proof)

---- Watching a leader in a group in action over time will reveal character, expertise, style and intent.

It is not always a matter of "good" as much as whether there is a synchronous communication.  Intention is more difficult to weed out. 

Buy someone lunch once a week. Dining over an outstanding meal opens people up. :)

Sometimes the best advisor is someone 10 steps directly in front of you. They can point and let you know - "watch yourself". 

Finding good advisors is not as difficult as getting them to care enough to invest time and effort. Which means "the mission" should draw them in.

Which brings us to Guy Kawasaki - Make Meaning in Your Company
Watch the video:

Once you find them, then --- how will you inspire and motivate them to care enough to participate?   (Then I focus on what they are interested in, their mission, and is my mission aligned with theirs?)

Sean Wilcox

August 31st, 2016

Being an advisor to several startups, I've always been connected or recommended by personal contacts. And the needs of the startup have to match the expertise of the advisor. And sometimes, it's just not a fit. In my case, I focus on early stage marketing, sales, and growth hacking (in fact your question here might connect you with a useful advisor and is an interesting form of growth hacking advisors). There is usually compensation for a certain # of hours per month in the form of equity (very small), not cash. 

Zulfiqar FRSA Member winning Team Mipster Hackathon at Kiosk HQ

August 31st, 2016

It is usually best to try out their support before you pay for it.  Most offer free consultation's.  

Having said that you also have to understand your own needs.  A lot of the time start ups just don't know what they business requirements actually are.

Hope this helps.

Charlie Downey President & CEO at Downey Insurance Agency, Inc.

August 31st, 2016

We Do Fly Alone. But the value that we bring, is we Know  All the right people, so Usually you get a gazillion resources. I am a Business consultant / a 30 Yr entrepreneur / we happen to work in the Insurance, ( all Insurance including financial Planning benefits, property Liability,  benefits)  / training / Motivation / Operational efficiency / sales space. so we key off of any of those Buckets and integrate the rest either ourselves or with other advisers. 

Joe Welfeld President; The Welfeld Group, LLC

September 1st, 2016

You can find Advisors in this network and in others such as Linked-In. Advisors should be able to add value by having an in-depth knowledge of your field and an array of connections that they can call on to assist in getting you a better understanding of the value that your product/service brings.

Diego Notaris Corporate Troubleshooter, Creative Investor

August 31st, 2016

That would depend on what skills you feel are missing in your team. Often times, advisors are cheaper and less intrusive than co-founders :-)

David Espindola Business and Technology Executive, Advisor and Entrepreneur

August 31st, 2016

You find good advisors the same way you find other key members of your team, preferably through referrals and recommendations.  Then interview the potential advisor to make sure he/she is a good fit for your business / industry / culture and matches what you are looking for.  Finally, try them out for a while. Bring them to your meetings and see how they interact with your team.  But be realistic about your expectations of what an advisor can do for you.  Good advisors will have more questions than answers, meaning, they will help you think through many of the tough questions you ought to consider before making key business decisions.  

Chris Kieff Sprinklr- Global Director of Security Operations, Helping Enterprise with Digital Customer First Transformation

August 31st, 2016

At Sprinklr we sought advisors who were respected and trusted by our customers. And we sought more than just money for our investors, we only selected investors who could also help us make connections we needed.

Ansar Hafil Business Consultant at Winning In Business

September 2nd, 2016

Hello, after 30 years of business experience I have just taken an early retirement.

I am 55 years old.

I now help start-ups grow their business by sharing the business "best practices"  I have used and see during my career, where I have worked in different industries and areas of business.

To help identify potential areas of improvement I offer free of charge a "business check-up" (like a doctors check-up) which covers the top 10 areas of business that need to be done well to have a successful business.

Following the check-up (which is in the form of a two hour interview) I propose concrete actions to help grow the business.

Please let me know if you are interested to know more about the "business check-up"

All the best,

Ansar (Please note I am based in Switzerland).

John Maccabee Multiplatform designer/writer/producer

August 31st, 2016

Make sure you and your advisor are very clear, from the very beginning, what is to be expected, if there is payment for services (equity or cash) and exactly what you and the advisor hope to get from the experience.