Behind every great startup there is a great advisor. Startup advisors have had years of experience helping businesses take that next step by supporting them in setting up their business or even using their contacts to put startups in touch with potential investors.
It is important to pick an advisor that has relevant experience working with businesses in your industry so that they have a clear understanding of what is required to succeed. Knowledge of a market is important, but having an advisor who has extensive experience working with startups is far more useful to a business than having all that knowledge.
What do startup advisors do?
A startup could have the right idea (and a product or service to match), but if they have no experience in the market with minimal connections they could hit their first stumbling block. This is where an advisor comes in, providing the startup with a person to come to when they require assistance or guidance. There isn’t a set of specific roles for advisors that are suitable with every startup, it all depends on what the needs are of the business and this changes from startup to startup.
An advisor’s role varies depending on factors such as the stage the startup currently finds themselves at. For example, if you are at the early stage of business development then it may be more useful to use their experience and knowledge in this market to help you develop your product and give you support in preparing your startup for launch.
However, if you already have an established startup with a product that has had small levels of success, but looking to scale up, then an advisor can use their pitch deck expertise to help you prepare a solid pitch to use with investors. They can also help you come up with objectives and key goals you are looking to achieve in your scaleup. Through their previous experiences with startups, advisors will have an array of potential VCs that are looking to invest in startups that they can connect you with.
The overall use of advisors is to help you, so make sure you ask for help in whichever area you feel that your advisor would be best utilised within your business.
Why have a startup advisor?
Connections and knowledge
As mentioned before, the knowledge and connections that an advisor can bring to a business can change its fortunes massively. An advisor can help fill in the gaps that are there and propel the business to the next level. By doing so, they are passing on knowledge to those within the business that will be valuable for them, whether that be regarding legal documents, marketing strategies or understanding the target market they are in.
Someone you can trust
It is vital that you are able to trust your advisor from the moment you start working together. Having someone you can trust to tell you the truth can be pivotal in your success, it’s easy to become so obsessed with the success of your business that you are blind to some glaring red flags and pitfalls that need to be addressed. A good advisor will tell you what needs to be said, even if it is not what you want to hear.
Therefore, having a good relationship with your advisor is a must. You may not agree with them all the time, but making sure you are able to confide in one another and be able to communicate freely leads to a great working relationship.
Can be used as a soundboard
An advisor is a great person to run past any ideas that you have and may look to use. They will go through the finer details with you and help you realise if this is an idea that can actually work or if some finer points need tweaking before launch.
Running a business can be very stressful and sometimes you need to let off a bit of steam and that is why having someone you can trust and confide in is great as they can help you relieve some of the burden and help you relax and calm down.
Focused on seeing the business succeed
Advisors are willing to put the time and effort in to see your company succeed, especially if they themselves have become a seed investor in the early stages of investment. They hope to guide you and work with you as you grow as a business and your goals begin to become bigger and more ambitious.
An advisor can be a great addition to a startup at any stage of the process as long as you are able to visualise where you want your business to go as an advisor can help you on your journey to realising those goals. At 7startup we have a team of highly experienced advisors who love to work with startup businesses to connect them with VC or Angel investors, or even help come up with marketing strategies and pitch decks to give you all the necessary tools to succeed.
Originally posted on 7startup.vc