An Advisory Board is a Great Idea for Every Startup

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Creating an advisory board is a critical task for a startup. This group of individuals can help a startup founder to realize his or her vision. Forbes provides a look at how to approach the creation of an advisory board for a startup.

An entrepreneurial mind-set isn’t all that a startup needs to get up and running. A startup can benefit greatly from the wise counsel and advice of a well-rounded and diverse advisory board. Plus, strategic partnerships help a startup for its strategies.

The First Step Toward an Advisory Board

As an entrepreneur starts to build out a board and a group of advisors, many seek out a group of people with specific industry expertise and skills.

But despite the fact that those are desireasble attributes, a startup founder should look for personality types “that lend themselves to patience, flexibility. and nerves of steel,” Forbes says. And although these characteristics may sound similar or even overlap, that’s the point: a startup entrepreneur needs advisors who believe in the company’s mission and vision, but who also have the experience to counsel him or her through the ups and downs in the process of seeing that mission and vision come to life.

Recruiting

The ability to recruit is another essential attribute for board members in an early-stage startup. A startup entrepreneur must have individuals in his or her corner who are well-connected with both the required talent and desired investors.

Advisory Board Talent
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A solid and well-established advisory board gives a startup entrepreneur links to areas and fields in which he or she may not have had visibility, along with exposure to executives who’ve experienced similar obstacles, issues, and challenges. This type of advisory board also has the wherewithal to attract investors to keep the company going.

No doubt, the price to be paid for a bad hire in an early-stage startup is immeasurable. Board members who have access to talent and not merely other investors can be invaluable.

Foundational Activity

Foundational activity for an organization requires a specific set of expertise, but next is finding help in growing the business.

A startup doesn’t require a brand new board at each phase of growth. Instead, a startup entrepreneur should seek to expand the advisory your board as the company’s needs change and evolve. A startup’s early-stage supporters can help to troubleshoot and navigate challenges, including in the areas of recruiting and financial resources.

Where are the Gaps?

A startup entrepreneur should next determine the gaps in in-house expertise that could be addressed by a veteran board member. The types of people to ask to serve on the advisory board at this stage are individuals with experience in commercialization, scale, growth, and navigating implementation challenges and regulatory considerations.

Remember that an advisory board should not be comprised of yes-men and women who are brought on as cheerleaders and fans. A startup entrepreneur should look for a board with a very diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds.

Look for a Diverse Group of Advisory Board Members

It might be easier to grab a bunch of fellow investors. But instead, try to reach out to economists, community leaders, customer advocates, and other professionals. The more well-rounded the perspective of your board, the more well-rounded the approach the startup will have.

Finally, a startup entrepreneur should be truthful and realistic about the gaps in the company’s functional expertise. This is vital to rounding out the board. This entails attracting individuals with substantial experience in navigating the regulatory challenges ahead. A startup founder may also want to bring aboard a person with extensive commercialization experience and a comprehensive industry network.

This is the point where it’s desirable to attract board members who understand the space in which the startup operates, and also have a proven track record of being able to reshape or influence the way the industry works. While it’s fantastic to have an “insider” who knows how the system works; however, an advisory board should also have a firm understanding of the opportunity to do things differently.

An advisory board help a startup found find the full potential of his or her company and help plot the course for the next steps in the journey.