The Sole StartUp Advisor
What is a startup advisor?
For a seed to Series A / early Series B startup, the advisor might be the only ally, coach, or formal mentor to the CEO / Founder(s) in assisting them in navigating the complexities associated with scaling a company, a product, and a team balancing the immediate short term requirements with a strategic plan for longer term scalability.
The first Coach / Advisor is to the founder personally, not a board role, someone who has a very wide aperture of experience across industries and subject-matters and can provide functional coaching on how to be thinking, addressing, understanding and delivering as the CEO.
You likely have an amazing idea and you might be the technical founder, the business founder or something in between, however it is likely you do not have the range of experience and competencies to operate at maximum efficiency.
You likely have a million ideas for the company, the product, for yourself, for your team and for your customers. How do you identify what to focus on, what to prioritize, what beings exponential value to the game. How are you building systems and processes to get you out the weeds, to get you more time in your day, to do what you should be doing. Talking to customers. Thinking about your vision.
The formula is to think about the micro-steps that have to occur to meet your goal and isolate yourself from the crap no one cares about and doesn’t add accretive value.
A founders job is one big “how might we” – visionary, strategist and executor. Creating the largest surface area to catch an opportunity.
Are You My Coach Or The Company StartUp Advisor?
At this early stage of your business, it might be a blur, you are the company, you are the product and you are setting the direction, so any coaching of you, will naturally trickle down in to your startup. However, the role of a StartUp Advisor is for the founder(s) – because it is your company and your vision and you NEED all the support you can get to focus on growth and value creation.
What Can I Expect From A StartUp Advisor
Perspective. Questions. Opinions. Data to help you, the startup founder have a potentially widened view across your entire business. It is a hybrid of strategy and planning, combined with practical business and operational guidance.
Ultimately, through discussion, the exact role or area of focus depends on you and your stage of development, your areas of strength & weakness and the priorities you believe most important to you today.
Sometimes it is big conversations, building a strategic vision playbook, other times, it is building out a customer success framework / center of excellence, sometimes its helping with the investor deck – and some times, it is just functional help on stuff you. Your business and your vision dictates the direction of the engagement and the conversations based on where the startup advisor can deliver the highest possible value.
Everything Changes. Always.
The relationship and priorities are forever changing, last week we are talking about scaling support, or entering a new market or how you should manage your time, today, you have a monster prospect at your doorstep that is your entire focus.
Tomorrow you might have churn, you might have technical issues with your product, you might need an analyst. Your job, at the beginning is to carry the entire weight of the company on your shoulders and over time, delegate and pass those responsibilities to others, but the burden never leaves.
When you start a relationship with a StartUp Advisor, you might be coming in with very specific questions or an area of challenge, but the best relationships and the most value comes through conversation, exploration and surfacing the unknown unknowns.