Entrepreneurs are passionate about their ideas and their businesses but why make starting a business harder than it needs to be? Advisors can help get a business concept off the ground or take a fledgling young business and turn it into a money machine.
Here are ten reasons why Great Advisor Matter: (In no particular order)
1) Sanity Checking the Initial Concept/s
When the entrepreneurial fever grips, the ideas and opportunities seem like a whirlwind of potential gold spinning around all ready to be grasped. They all may be valid but investors want to know which is the one you will grab and deliver on in the short term. This does not mean you need to scale back on the dream but you do need to know which is going to begin the road to riches. Advisors can help Entrepreneurs weigh up the opportunities and using rationale criteria like doability, potential market, motivated customers and so on, help the entrepreneur sanity check and focus on the one perhaps two elements to be pursued today.
As entrepreneurs grow, their network grows with them. This takes time but is an extremely valuable process. Likewise, Advisors who are further along in their careers, often have an extensive network that Entrepreneurs can tap into to raise funds. Most advisors with a little thought and a cup of coffee to hand can probably think of a few people that they can connect the entrepreneur with who would potentially be interested in making an investment. Advisors can connect Entrepreneurs with Angels and sometimes VCs very easily and a call from the right advisor not only gets you though the door but gives instant credibility.
3) Securing Customers
If you get an Advisor in the right space then the can often open the doors for entrepreneurs with their first few customers. After chatting through the logical customers for a product or service, it shouldn’t take too long for a great Advisor to determine how they can get you that first meeting.
4) Sanity Checking the Pitch
OK so you have a fund raising or customer meeting scheduled. What the heck are you going to say and how are you going to say it? This is where passion alone will probably not do. Advisors are a good sanity check on what should be pitched and how. Take them through your thinking and the pitch. They will see holes and opportunities to make your case more impactfully that you, with your up close perspective, may not see.
5) Doing the Deal
The first few meetings have gone well and you need to do the deal. What is a good deal, what is a bad deal? Do you pitch what you want or ask them what they are prepared to do for you? All these questions and more can be talked through with a great advisor before you get to the point of doing a deal so you are ready. Some Advisors will actually sit in on the negotiations with you if its helpful and make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible.
6) An Experienced Sounding Board
It’s often tempting to think you know all the answers. Who else knows you business as well as you do? The answer is probably no one but if you have your sleeves rolled up and are in the thick of it…you may not be seeing all the challenges or opportunities that a bit of distance could bring. Also Advisors have often been through similar experiences, they’ve made mistakes and had their successes too and can often help you avoid some of the landmines and grab hold of some of the opportunities. Also, when you are hit with the next big one – it’s often good to be able to call a few advisors with different experiences and pool their opinions so you can weigh up their input and do what you think is right.
7) Providing Deep Functional Expertise
If you are a great entrepreneur there are probably some things you are great at and others areas you still need to work on. Having Advisors with specific deep expertise in those areas can help. Yes, you will likely have people on the team with that experience too but having another person with more tenure for you and those team members can be extremely valuable – especially in areas such as technology, sales, customer acquisition, financing and so on.
Who you have on your official Advisory Board can bring additional credibility to your business. Having a ‘name’ on the board tells watchers, investors, customers and potential recruits that you are onto something special. It can give you the edge in deal making and could lead to some great publicity. But be careful that they are not just names and add little value – if they are that good, make sure you use the benefit of their experience and contacts too.
Great advisors can help you find star performers for your young company and help bring them onboard.
Last – but not least…
10) Great Advisors Matter because they give a young company a whole range of benefits such as the above and many more that they likely could not afford to pay for until they are much larger.
Many Advisors work with young companies because they like the thought of equity in an exciting company, they enjoy working with entrepreneurs, fast moving opportunities and giving something back. The really great Advisors recognize that they manage to get to the position they have through the support and help of their own mentors. There is something pleasurable about doing the same in turn to the next generation who are building the next hot companies and striving every day to change the world.
If you don’t already – I really recommend getting some Advisors onboard…