Several months ago I was talking to an entrepreneur about his startup. After hearing about their current progress and plans, I was pretty surprised by some of the decisions they had made. Now, I don’t know nearly as much as the entrepreneur does about the market or the opportunity, but some of the things they spent a significant amount of money on didn’t pass the smell test. Next, I asked about their advisors and investors. As expected, the advisors and investors were successful people that had never built a tech company.
Here are a few thoughts on finding an advisor with relevant experience:
- Legal terms and deal structures that are common in one industry aren’t guaranteed to be common in other industries
- Costs and expenses to get things done in a startup should be much cheaper (and scrappier) than what the advisor with the big company background is used to seeing
- An entrepreneur that did well in the dot-com era doesn’t necessarily have the same applicability 15 years later as many strategies and tactics are different now
- Talk to a number of potential advisors and don’t settle for the first one that’s available
- Seek out peer mentors and not just older mentors (like EO and YPO)
Entrepreneurs would do well to find advisors with relevant experience, not just general success.
What else? What are some more thoughts on seeking advisors with relevant experience?