Choosing the Right Type of Advisors for Your Startup

Seeking advisors for your startup? It's crucial to understand the different types and what value they can bring to your business.

Advisors can play a critical role in the success of a startup. However, it’s important to understand that not all advisors are created equal. In fact, there are three types of advisors, each with their own unique value proposition.

The first type of advisor is what I like to call the “credibility booster.” These are people who have a recognizable name or reputation in the industry. They can add a bit of weight to your startup and give you an extra 15 seconds in a conversation or a reply to a cold email. However, beyond that, they’re not going to do much for you.

The second type of advisor is the “deck advisor.” These are advisors that you add to your startup deck to show that you’ve done your research and you have weight and value behind your startup. These advisors can help you look good on paper and give investors some confidence in your team, but they’re not necessarily going to drive your business forward.

The third and final type of advisor is what you really want – the “real advisor.” These are the advisors who can actually drive you and your business forward. They have deep industry knowledge and experience, and they’re willing to roll up their sleeves and help you tackle the tough problems. These advisors can be the difference between success and failure for your startup.

As you’re thinking about your advisors, it’s important to keep in mind that not all advisors are created equal. You need to think carefully about which type of advisor you need and what value they can bring to your startup. As Charlie O’Donnell said, “When he sees advisors on a deck, it’s just a group of people who had the chance to invest but didn’t.” While I don’t necessarily agree with this sentiment in all cases, it’s a good reminder to be strategic about your advisor selection.

As a case in point, look at the success story of Airbnb. They had an advisor in their early days by the name of Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, who was able to help them navigate the complex world of online marketplaces. His experience and guidance were invaluable to the Airbnb founders as they worked to build their business. This is a great example of a “real advisor” who was able to make a significant impact on a startup.

Related Post

StartUp Founders: Find Your One Titan thumbnail

StartUp Founders: Find Your One Titan

Founders. Get a mentor. Get an advisor. You don’t know it all. Every legendary entrepreneur will tell you, the real cheat code was finding that one guru, that oracle who has been there, done that, and was willing to share the playbook.

Your Right to Exist: The StartUp Problem Statement thumbnail

Your Right to Exist: The StartUp Problem Statement

This isn’t just a mere slide in your pitch deck. The StartUp Problem Statement is the entire thesis that continually validates your startup’s right to exist.

The StartUp Value Chain: Where Do You Fit In? thumbnail

The StartUp Value Chain: Where Do You Fit In?

The founder journey demands a profound understanding of your startup’s place in the ecosystem. The (non)linear path between solution success and customer success is mapped via the Value Chain.