Seven reasons you need a solid advisory board

Next time you pitch to an advisory board or committee, know WHY they need your skills so you can make a solid case.
There at least seven good reasons start-ups need a good advisory board to scale-up, according to US based start-up founder, Tony Leitch. They are listed below, but after you have read the article make sure you register for our Scaling-4_Start-Ups event in Sydney on 24 June to test your new found knowledge.

1. Fresh Set of Eyes / Sounding Board 

Carefully selected advisors can provide an alternative view of issues because they see them through a different set of lenses, a differing environment and experience base. More importantly though, if selected on an independent basis, such advisors will provide the unvarnished truth, challenging the entrepreneur’s perspective, even if it is not what the entrepreneur desires to hear.

2. Advice and Counsel

The technical entrepreneur/inventor may clearly have the intellectual firepower to address and successfully tackle a vast array of issues. However, advisors can bring different backgrounds, educations, skill-sets with relevant direct experience to the party immediately. In a world where “time is money” and ideas have shorter and shorter “shelf-lives,” would it be more efficient for the entrepreneur to focus on their specialty, the development of the product, or to research how an accounting transaction should be booked, how a complex regulatory issue should be handled or the intricacies of social media in order to develop and support their personal marketing skills?

3. Focused, Unbiased Input

Assuming a diverse advisory board has been established, the advisors should be able to address most issues immediately, based on previous experience, focusing on the relevant and avoiding the proverbial “rabbit-trail”. Leveraging this experience allows the startup to rapidly scale without continually “re-inventing the wheel.”  Challenging solutions to issues from differing angles on an unbiased basis permits the advisor to support the entrepreneur in developing better solutions, sooner!

4. Networking

Even the most diverse advisory board can’t provide expertise in all disciplines. However, they can and do possess contacts, know someone with the expertise and experience to help address the issue, assess the environment, solve the problem or influence key constituents.

5. Influence

Members of advisory boards bring experiences which have resulted from their building of careers and reputations as successful and accomplished leaders in their respective fields. These individuals are influential in their industries, communities and in the business world in general. Additionally, they know others with influence. Leveraging such influence is critical to rapid scalability.

6. Validation

Strong advisors won’t agree to serve unless they are comfortable the start-up and entrepreneur bring with them the potential to be “the real deal.” They will do their homework and it is unlikely they will participate as a member of the advisory board if they are uncomfortable with either. Through, this vetting of the company and entrepreneur, the potential advisory board member not only validates the effort for her/his self, but their affiliation provides credibility to the start-up and the entrepreneurs involved.

7. Funding Support

One of the most complex, confusing and time-consuming endeavors the entrepreneur faces is obtaining funding to scale their endeavor. While an advisor with experience in raising capital will not be able to guarantee to fund, they can radically improve the odds by mapping out a path which allows the entrepreneur to bypass obstacles and avoid pot-holes. Creating a strong advisory board of trusted members with diverse, successful backgrounds potentially stages the startup to accelerate its growth and enables the entrepreneurs to rapidly scale the opportunity.

January 2, 2019 by Tony Leitch - How to Create an Advisory Board
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