Why Aren’t My Advisors Helping Me?! Maybe Because You’re Making it Hard…
A lot of blogs have been written about how to have a successful founder/advisor relationship. It’s complicated… and easily screwed up.
Too many founders ask people to be advisors so they can put names on their deck and show off their network. When we see advisors listed on a deck our eyes glaze over. We really don’t care — we assume the relationship will be useless.
Furthermore, most of the time advisors are brought on without a specific goal in mind on how they’ll help.
But even in the cases that the right advisors have been brought on and they do have the capacity to help, knowing what to ask them for and how to get them engaged is difficult.
The three best ways to get the most out of your advisors are:
(1) Make it easy — meet regularly to give updates, offer three available times to chat each time, meet them at their office, write emails they can simply forward rather than putting the pressure on them to do the drafting.
(2) Communicate regularly and be specific about needs. If you ask general questions, you’ll get general and lousy advice. Communicate with your advisors about all the specific needs you have and they may be able to help in surprising ways.
(3) Keep them excited! It’s easiest to help people who are already doing well. I have a few contacts I’ll only intro our most over performing companies to. Be the #1 company in your advisor’s portfolio he/she thinks about when talking to friends.
Also, be patient. We have advisors who did nothing more than give general advice and make intro’s occassionally for two years and then suddenly came in and changed the game for us, made a huge intro, sourced us a deal or in some-cases co-found a whole new line of business and help us raise capital! Don’t give up on the relationship — keep working and if you give it enough time and enough asks something big will come out of it.