How can I find a suitable adviser for a startup company?
Hello, I would appreciate if you could share your thoughts on selecting advisers for a startup company. What factors should I consider when selecting an adviser? Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
Having an advisor for your start up is a good step in the right direction. So kudos to You!
Having an advisor in the same field is important but certain knowledge is transferable. So the first thing is to get clear on
-Who You Are, [ What is Your purpose]
-What Your company values are [What do You want to be known for]
-What Your own moral and ethical compass is [ Is money more important than..]
-What You hope to achieve and [ the company that is number # 1 in...]
-The time frame in which You want to achieve it in [ want to achieve x in year 1, y in year 2 and z in year 3] those goals ought to be both quantitative as in money goals and qualitative as in how your clients 'feel' about the 'quality' of your goods and services
Another factor is start-up similarities:
- If You are starting up on a shoe string budget You need an advisor whose background is similar. Because the creative problem solving acumen developed from limited funds is going to be different from one who has had financial banking.
- Business creation style; eg is that advisor a serial entrepreneur who builds businesses to sell when they are at their peak; or are they an advisor who build business and take them into maturity
Also another factor is finance
-Are You going to pay this person or is it going to be pro- bono
- If it is the former how much can you afford, at what rate per hour? throughout what duration? And what do You expect to have achieved during this period
-If it is the latter - then You need to know from the start that no one will be able to give pro bono hours indefinitely so be prepared to absorb everything quickly like a sponge.
Either way be absolutely clear on your vision and wants. This is important because the quality of the answer You receive is indicative of the quality of the question You ask. And if You fail to ask the right question no amount advisor capability will be able to second guess what it is You are really wanting.
- Most crucial is that your advisor ought to have a vast amount of experience. Theory is all well and good.. on paper...but its practical know how and common sense that gets the job done effectively and efficiently. You will want someone who can transmit that knowledge to You in such a way that You fully understand and can execute the lessons.
Hope this helps You! And I Am Wishing You Well,
When looking for advisors you should think about "seven Cs" -- context (are you looking for expertise in a certain topics, business issues, fields, or industries, or more of a generalist?), counsel (are you looking for someone to bounce ideas off or help you make specific decisions?), credibility (is this someone with a track record of successfully advising entrepreneurs like me?), connections (can they help me get access to key supplier, investors, or potential customers?), communication (do they have the same communication style as me and will they give brutally honest but developmental feedback?), chemistry (is this someone I feel comfortable sharing my biggest concerns and vulnerabilities?), and commitment (can I count on them to be there when I need them?). Once you have figured your needs / preferences, start with local advising / mentoring resources available through SBDCs, SCORE, incubators, and organizations like Start-Up Grind. Also, mine your existing contacts and LinedIn connections for ideas. The process is part strategic as result of really articulating your needs, and part organic as a result of engaging / talking to people and finding the right connection. Best of Luck!
different factors will decide what advisor or coach you want to have on your side when starting a company. There are initatives like the Startup Weekend (in New Zealand), where I am helping entrepreneurs from the beginning - there might be similar events in your town where you can get some great results from. A good startup coach will try to listen and understand you first. Only if they understand your true values and what your product or service is, you will get great results with them. Also, when it comes to setting actions for you and guiding you through, they will respect your individual personality - an introverted startup entrepreneur will not really thrive in a public speaking marketing gig - but may be a brilliant blog writer.
Select a few coaches or advisors in your area - ideally certified or registered coaches - and contact them for a initial meeting so you get to know them and their work style, then select them based on rapport and trust.
I hope this helps!
I think it is key to segment your needs in order to get specialized help. very few mentors will be in a position of helping with every aspect of your startup. I am often referred by some startup mentors(private and gov) to trouble shoot specific problems and define solutions for things that are off limits to their experience. I greatly enjoy helping people in exchange for free coffee, its very cool to see people doing well. I would be cautious of offers that tie you to a contract or service, banks, accountants, lawyers etc. Look for free help first such as government innitiatives and work from there.
We really need to know more about your firm and why you think you need an advisor.
I work with start ups a lot, but it would be helpful to know what you need and your budget for these services.
In order to get the right answers from us I think its necessary for you to tell a little bit more. Every market segment has different sort of advisors that would work better in a startup situation. In all cases its wise to find a good balance between biased advice(think of bank, government etc) and advice based on personal experience. Just make sure that you believe in your idea and don't let advise of others shape your idea too much. Use it for guidance!
I spent hours at classes offered by the SBA, and never regretted it. I have built several business under several different platforms thanks to what I learned.
I would start by finding your local SCORE office (SBA), These are all volunteers but you must make an appointment at the SCORE office nearest you.
Check out the eBooks list below together they are a blue print for developing a marketing strategy for your business.
MRPwebmedia Marketing & Branding eBooks
What’s The Big Idea? A Guide To Creative Marketing Communication
Brand Universe A Big Idea Marketing Strategy
Double Take Marketing Techniques
Free Website Confidential - The Ish Effect
Free Website Confidential - Commercial Noir
There are more details, or clarification, needed in order to answer your question. For example, what type of business, location, are you looking for specific disciplines in which you may need assistance. Is it Marketing, Real Estate, Finance, Human Resources, Strategic Planning, etc.?
If you could spell some of these issues out it would help in answering your question.
First, there are any number of advisors for start-ups from the general legal and business operations to those who are expert in marketing, logistics and networking, et cetera.
In most major cities there are entrepenuer groups with whom you can network. In looking for advice, try to find out the experience in the areas and industry in which you are engaged. You can speak to people at a university or college near you for referrals.
Finding advisors is a lot like finding a job, you need to network to find someone who is good.
Ultimately, it is your own experience and instincts that will lead you to whom you chose to seek for advice.
Every start up needs an Advisory Board, or an advice squad. The best people to be on an Advisory Board should have skills that the founder does not have and needs.
Best to start with someone who did it before with a similar amount of funding. Then try for someone near your marketplace and finally at your planned price point. If thy are solid, they will quite reasonably seek equity.
What is their experience with your industry and with startups? How will they help you look at your business differently?
Beyond that I'd suggest looking at their overall experience and what they are willing to do to customize their services to fit your needs.
If you are looking for such a consultant, please consider contacting me.
Find someone who has already done exactly what you are trying to accomplish. Ask them for help. If they are helpful you have yourself an advisor.
Will you please give us additional details so that we can better assist you and or your client(s) in the right course of action?
In the last 5 years alone I have been apart of over a hundred or so projects as well as many of my close associates.
3 factors I consider: ability to learn, great work ethics, and a honorable character.
The key to eany "expert" is have they do it themselves successfully before. Most coaches and busienss advisors are not successful CEOs. Second question is do they have a "System" that will accelerate the one-on-one (expensive) time. I have been coaching CEOs since 2002, before that I grew two startups to over $100MM in sales. That is the xeperience that matters. I have developed many training programs for enetrepreneurs at www.StartupPlanet.com and have coaching programs starting at $600/month with literally over 1,000 tools I give my clients at they need them.
A strong reading list is at http://clevelenterprises.com/Recommended_Reading.htm
Becoming a good entrepreneur is not a accident, it is a decade of preparation to learn the arts of management, leadership, marketing, slaes, operation, finance and product development/launch.
I agree no mentor is going to be able to help with all aspects of start-up. However a mentor, especially the right one can save you from a lot of mistakes. I found a lot of assistance with my local small business association (SBA). The mentors for the SBA are seasoned company owners who have experienced start-ups and made them successful. I love the SBA.