Nobody knows about your product or business idea better than you, and nobody shares the same passion for your startup as you do. However, you may still lack the business skills, knowledge or experience necessary to scale your startup.
This is where startup advisors step in. They can fill those critical gaps and blind spots blocking your startup's growth. Advisors are indispensable assets for your startup, especially for first-time or early-stage entrepreneurs.
In this blog, let’s understand what they can do for your startup and how you can make the most of them.
Role of Startup Advisors
Advisors can help you navigate the challenges of different stages of startup growth in several ways.
Builds Extensive Network
Startup advisors are often seasoned entrepreneurs, industry experts or business coaches. They move around professional and social circles that give them access to people from different walks of life. So they can build network connections to find potential angel investors, venture capitalists, key hires or partners.
Advisors continuously challenge your assumptions, biases and preconceptions, no matter how arduous or awkward the conversations may get. They push your boundaries constructively and innovatively to find out of box solutions to your problems. They help you broaden your perspective to keep you on the growth track.
Develops Business Growth Model
Entrepreneurs may dedicate all their time to product development and lose sight of figuring out a suitable business model. Advisors assist you in establishing a business model, so your product sells itself to generate revenue. They can also define online and offline customer acquisition strategies to reach the right target audience.
Overcomes Operational Bottlenecks
You will likely face operational issues when you implement your business idea or start manufacturing the product commercially. This is because unexpected and unplanned situations can often spring during execution. Advisors can guide you to conquer these challenges strategically and promptly to avoid a domino effect on other processes.
Provides Competitive Edge
HotelsAroundYou, India's last-minute hotel booking app, started its operations in 2013 and even raised funds from investors. However, it had to shut down in 2017 due to fierce competition from brands with rich experience and user credibility in the same space.
Startup advisors have deep familiarity with the business landscape and competition. They can ensure that your startup has a competitive edge in the market. They can advise you to formulate a competitive strategy to grab the maximum pie of the market share.
Lack of credibility is one of the significant challenges for most startups. Consequently, it is a struggle to win the trust of investors and customers despite the product being great, valuable and feasible. When you onboard advisors, they bring their credibility with them. The fact that you have an advisory authority figure in your team can boost your startup’s reputation and trustworthiness quotient.
Manage the Crisis
The recent Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapse sent the Indian startup ecosystem into a shockwave as it had deposits worth about one billion. Groovershark, a music streaming service, had to wind up its business due to copyright infringement issues with artists, music labels and publishers.
Such crises can occur at any time in the life stage of your startup. Startup advisors can hold your hands through the most pressing problems and mitigate the negative impact of catastrophes.
Leverage Startup Advisors for Maximum Value Addition: 3 Steps
Unlike mentors who offer informal guidance without charging any fee, advisors work with startups with a long-term view in lieu of compensation (flat fees, stocks or equity).
However, you need advisors who are as invested in your vision and passion as you are, or they may not serve your purpose.
Here are a few ways to make the most of their advisory role.
1. Perfect Match for Your Startup
An advisor should complement your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. You should hire advisors with functional or industry expertise to give you much-needed breakthroughs to scale the business. Most importantly, they should not throw their weight around or have ego issues, or it could result in frequent conflicts.
Advisors often have an ‘n’ number of things on their to-do list. They may also be serving other startups in advisory roles. So, it would be a good idea to have an honest conversation with them about the number of hours they can put in and the value they can add to your business. It is helpful to have a formal agreement stating their role and responsibility, compensation terms, etc.
Sometimes, you may not agree with advisors’ recommendations or are unhappy with their performance. Even if the advisor is a senior person or someone with whom you share a close bond, do not hesitate to give them your critical feedback. The openness in your relationship with your advisors is necessary for both of you to be on the same page.
Startup advisors are another pair of eyes who can help you see what you can’t see as an entrepreneur. They advise on making things right and give you a harsh reality check to avoid pitfalls. Hence, you must hire advisors to scale your startup and steer it in the right direction.
Finding the right advisors on your own is no mean feat. Scalix, an integrated platform for startup founders, can connect you to qualified and knowledgeable advisors.
Join our Early Founder Programme to know more.