Advisory Board For Your Start-Up

At our last Bootstrappers Breakfast in San Francisco, we discussed having an advisory board for a startup. People had mixed opinions on how helpful it would be to have advisors.

Some felt that the advisor’s knowledge and connections helped further grow business while others felt that giving away a stake in the start-up did not outweigh benefits contributed by the advisor.

Some of our members have shared their opinion on this:

Darren Cox, Founder, M.IP.P Strategy

An excerpt from Marti Nyman’s ‘Bored of Advisors? Get a Board-of-Advisors’

One of the most underutilized assets in the world of entrepreneurship is other people’s experience. This is available in forms ranging from casual coffee interviews to customer “deep dive” discussions to formal Advisory Boards. I fear that an already overloaded work schedule all too often gets in the way of more entrepreneurs taking advantage of this valuable source of insight, guidance and ideas. It should be used a LOT more than it is today, so for would-be entrepreneurs out there, here’s a quick guide to Advisory Boards.

  1. Building a lasting company will invariably involve making mistakes–not lethal ones, but (hopefully) learning ones.
  2. Other people have made these mistakes and their willingness to share may speed your learning curve–where you can make other mistakes and learn and grow.

Read the rest here.

Lenny Greenberg, founder and Chief Technology Officer, Assistyx

I have been asked to be on advisory boards before. Unfortunately, in most cases they were form over substance. The entrepreneur was trying to show a list of experience to potential investors rather than actually take advantage of the experience.

On the flip side, I’ve seen entrepreneurs with great “kitchen cabinets;” i.e. an informal group of advisors that may or may not be investors that can be tapped when needed to fill a needed role.

Like partners, an advisory board should complement the skills of the entrepreneur and his team. An MBA and advisory board of other MBAs won’t get a product out the door. A “hands on” engineer and a board of technical advisors will likely miss markets and opportunity.

Francis Adanza, VP of Marketing & Alliances, eMobus

We have three advisory board members who we consult with individually as needed and once a quarter as a board meeting . Each advisor brings a complimentary skill set to our team. One brings fortune 50 C-Level experience, one advisor offers business, technology marketing and operational expertise to emerging technologies, and the third advisor is a recognized CTO in the cloud computing space.

They have been extremely helpful in negotiating big deals, assist with business and product planning, as well provide legal advice. Formulating an advisory board is like anything else, you need to do your due diligence in selecting individuals.

We welcome your comments as well

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