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Building a Strong Advisor Team to Support Your Company's Growth

As an entrepreneur, you know how to build teams. It’s part of what makes you good at your chosen career. This topic isn’t about how you build your management team internally; rather, we focus here on those outside your organization. These experts are the external resources that you choose to supplement your internal team’s capabilities.

Attorney

The first place to start is always with Legal. Your lawyer is the advisor you engage with first as your business doesn’t exist until there is a legal document saying so. They will help you to choose the legal form of your business and start the process of protecting any intellectual property. Additionally, founder agreements need to be drafted to spell out what happens if there is any change in your founder’s group. While it is not necessary to consult with your attorney on everything, keeping them informed of what is going on in your business is key so they can help you head off unforeseen problems. Your lawyer will provide you with the direction as to what needs to be done next. A word of caution here – while hourly rate doesn’t guarantee quality, going with the cheapest option can be a recipe for disaster. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish, especially in the early days of your company’s development.

Advisory Board

Your advisory board can fill in some of the gaps in the skill sets of your team.  The members of your advisory board should be individuals who have industry and/or customer focused experience. Consider these individuals as people you can tap for their ability to make introductions to prospective customers, job candidates, or others within your industry. Your advisory board members are not necessarily people who will be investing money in your company; they are really meant to be there to provide you with knowledge and experience your team doesn’t possess. You don’t need everyday access to them as you would an employee but some form of “regular” access is necessary to tab into their value. 

Financial Model and Accounting Assistance

In the beginning, it’s probably the founder with the MBA who gets tasked with downloading and figuring out the accounting software. Currently, your operations are probably limited enough that this trajectory will work for a while, but as you start legitimate financing activities, the financial model becomes increasingly important. Your financial model is the framework that will allow you to project out your financial performance. And while it won’t win you an investment, it can definitely lose an opportunity for you. Make sure you work with an expert to include things like the ramp up of revenues and the corresponding changes to headcount over time, when to make capital investments, and how you will fund research and development costs. The financial model comes to life when crafted with the input of the founder, so don’t expect that you can just outsource the process to someone who is just “good with the numbers” and still have it be meaningful.

Outside experts are the resources you choose to supplement your internal team capabilities. Now that you know what additional resources you need, use those same team building skills to craft the best trusted advisors for your business.