How to Utilize a Startup Advisor for your Business

By  Zainab Agha

January 14, 2022 7:06 pm EST

A lot of startup founders find the best advisors to fill their advisory board but struggle when it comes to collaborating with them. Advisors do not just help you get in touch with important contacts but can be very helpful in actually making your company more productive. There is not a part of your app startup that you cannot find an advisor for. In order to take full advantage of your board, here are some of the tactics you can employ. 

Select Advisors Suited to You 

It is very tempting to hire people who have worked in the most prominent places, but that should not be the only factor driving your decision. The best advisors are the ones who can boost your strengths and fill in the gaps where your weaknesses lie. And this should be your focus when interviewing for fitting candidates. 

Before you commit to them make sure you ask for references to get a better understanding how they work with founders and other managers in a startup. 

Use their Perspective

As an entrepreneur, you should always be confident. The moment you find yourself hesitating is when you need the optics of your advisor. Even if you think you do not need help, you do. The best advisors will know that you are being too patient with a decision and offer help. They might even reframe the question so you arrive at the answer yourself. It may turn into a learning moment. 

Ask

Most founders just look to advisors to nod for approval. They will sit in on your board meetings be briefed about what has happened so far, and you feel like them patting you on the back is all you need to know that your startup is headed for unicorn level. After all, it is your company, you should be making all the critical decisions. 

Your advisors will not proactively help you unless you ask. And you should not just start doing that when you feel things are going downhill. You have to have a discussion in how much you would appreciate the advisors to be engaged in the day-to-day of your app startup. If you make a decision ask your advisor how they would tweak it. If your advisor has equity, they will be more inclined to help and see the company make money. 

Set Meeting Agendas

Most of the time founders will email advisors for a coffee or brunch. Don’t! Be clear about what you want to discuss. Otherwise, the person on the other end will not treat it as a priority, and may even move your meeting, the tonality of which sounds purely social. 

It also helps if you know the kind of meeting you are having with your advisor. You want to walk in knowing if you just want to have a discussion, need to walk out with a decision, or a debate. 

Remember, you too can give your advisor feedback. You can always express disappointment and that they were not able to deliver on a commitment.


Zainab Agha

Zainab started her career in advertising as a copywriter; which taught her how valuable moxie was in the boardroom and translates that in her campaigns. Building brands has led her to explore digital marketing, communication concepts, and what it takes to grow an idea from scratch. In her free time (let’s assume she is a badass with balancing work and play) she travels in heels then complains, experiments with innovative creative solutions that sell, and does stand-up comedy.

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