12 Strategies for Leveraging Advisors to Grow Your Startup
To shed light on how startups can effectively leverage advisors, we’ve gathered insights from twelve seasoned founders and CEOs. From leveraging advisors for website growth to guiding long-term vision, these leaders share their successful strategies and experiences in harnessing the power of advisory roles for startup growth.
- Leveraging Advisors for Website Growth
- Testing Potential Advisors Through Pre-Collaboration
- Strategically Using Market Strategy
- Unconventional Marketing with Advisor’s Help
- Harnessing an Industry-Specific Board
- Approaching Mentorship
- Incorporating Advisors into the Team
- Engaging Early
- Building a Diverse Advisory Board
- Creating Strategic Synergy
- Defining Clear Roles
- Guiding Long-Term Vision
Leveraging Advisors for Website Growth
With our current website, we’ve been fortunate enough to have an advisor on board. However, it wasn’t easy to find the right person to support us. The main areas in which we needed support were knowledge on how to grow traffic to the website.
Our advisor has provided us with support on the latest best-practice recommendations in organic search, both on-site and off-site. From this, we’ve managed to build out a long-term strategy together, which hopefully sets us up for success in the future.
Testing Potential Advisors Through Pre-Collaboration
Engaging with an advisor can be pivotal for the growth of a startup, but it’s not just about finding an advisor. It’s about finding the right one. One of the strategies I’ve implemented is pre-collaboration.
Before entering a formal advisory relationship, I work closely with potential advisors on a small project or consultation. This preliminary phase serves as a litmus test. It helps to understand if there’s a synergy in working styles, visions, and expectations. This hands-on approach provides insights into the advisor’s expertise and their adaptability to your startup’s unique challenges. Furthermore, it allows both parties to gauge if the partnership can foster the desired growth.
Remember, the essence of an advisor’s role isn’t just to guide but to collaborate effectively. By ensuring a good fit from the start, startups can optimize the value they derive from their advisors, leading to meaningful and sustained growth.
Strategically Using Market Strategy
One of the pivotal moves in scaling our startup was strategically leveraging the expertise of our advisors. We onboarded an advisor with a strong background in market strategy, given our challenges in reaching our target audience effectively.
This advisor didn’t just offer theoretical advice; they actively connected us with industry stakeholders and facilitated partnerships that would’ve taken us years to forge on our own. Beyond the immediate network expansion, they also led hands-on workshops to refine our value proposition and improve our pitch strategy.
As a result, within a year, our customer acquisition rate tripled, and our investor pitch conversion increased by 40%. This experience underscored the profound impact a well-chosen advisor can have, not just as a guide but as an active growth catalyst.
Unconventional Marketing with Advisor’s Help
One way I’ve successfully leveraged advisors to grow my startup is by seeking guidance from a seasoned marketer who specializes in unconventional marketing techniques. This advisor, with her vast experience and unique perspective, helped us take our marketing strategy to the next level. Rather than sticking to traditional advertising methods, she encouraged us to think outside the box and explore unexplored avenues.
For instance, we decided to collaborate with local artists and incorporate their work into our branding and campaigns. This uncommon example of leveraging an advisor resulted in increased brand awareness, a boost in customer engagement, and ultimately led to higher conversions for our startup.
By tapping into the expertise of an advisor who offered unconventional ideas and strategies, we were able to differentiate ourselves in the market and create a memorable brand presence that resonated with our target audience.
Harnessing an Industry-Specific Board
In our nascent stages, we harnessed advisors’ insights through an industry-specific advisory board. These seasoned professionals, well-versed in our sector’s nuances, provided invaluable guidance. Leveraging their acumen, we strategically pivoted our roadmap, optimizing our MVP for scalability.
Additionally, their introductions within our ecosystem facilitated strategic partnerships, propelling exponential growth. This synergy exemplifies the symbiotic advisor-startup relationship, showcasing how collective wisdom can catalyze a trajectory of success.
Throughout the development of our startup, we used advisors as a guide for improving our offering. Regular consultations with seasoned industry professionals gave us priceless insights that helped us match the needs of the market with our product. We improved the functionality, user experience, and pricing models by disclosing our goal and getting open feedback. This iterative process, aided by the experience of our advisors, improved investor attractiveness while also optimizing our product-market fit.
Our growth trajectory was accelerated by their expertise in helping us turn obstacles into stepping stones. Utilizing advisors as mentors during our product development process was crucial in building a solid base for the success of our startup.
Incorporating Advisors into the Team
In my experience, one of the best ways to leverage advisors is to make them feel like part of the team.
When you’re working with advisors, it’s easy to think of them as outsiders who are only there to help you. But if you want them to be a part of your team and truly invest in your business, you have to treat them like they’re already on it.
That means thanking them for their work, responding quickly when they have questions or concerns, and keeping them informed on a regular basis. It also means being transparent about what’s going on with your company and why it’s important that they stay involved.
I’ve found that when people feel like they’re a part of something—even if it’s just an advisory role—they’re much more likely to give their time and energy than if they feel like they’re being used by someone else for their expertise and connections without getting anything in return.
I’ve leveraged advisors to grow my startup by connecting with them early on in the process. I started working with an advisor who was in my industry and had been through the same thing I was going through; he’d been a founder of two startups before, and now he’s working as an executive at a startup.
He was able to help me think through the problems I was facing, and even offer solutions. He also helped me think about how to present myself in meetings with investors—things like body language and how much eye contact I should make. This was invaluable information that would have taken me months to learn on my own!
Building a Diverse Advisory Board
At our startup, using advisors for development required building a wide board. We chose people with a lot of useful experience in areas like finance, marketing, and technology. By using their combined knowledge, I received advice that was very helpful and helped us deal with problems and make good decisions. When these advisors considered my trip, they made important connections with possible partners, investors, and clients, which expanded our network and helped us grow.
Their advice not only strengthened our business plan, but it also helped our stakeholders believe in it. Essentially, putting together a well-rounded advisory board based on my experience has had a significant impact on the path of our startup. It has sparked innovation and put us on the road to success by providing us personalized views and giving mentors more power.
Creating Strategic Synergy
Consider your advisers as co-creators of the trajectory of your startup, rather than traditional advising responsibilities. Drawing from experience, fostering “strategic synergy” by aligning advisors whose expertise complements and interlocks with your startup’s core objectives is recommended. This incorporates advisers who create ideas collectively, open doors to networks, and provide their own resources. This goes beyond simple counsel.
Developing advisor alliances that resemble strategic synergy is beneficial. Each advising engagement develops into a tale of partnership, where your stories reflect the power of collective expertise propelling startups to unparalleled heights.
This strategy will likely strike a chord with your audience, who are looking for knowledgeable advice on maximizing advisor contributions.
Defining Clear Roles
In my experience, one of the most effective ways to leverage advisors is to make sure that they are fully aware of their role in your startup. If you’re not clear about what you want them to do and what value they can add, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. The best thing to do is to sit down with them in person and ask them what they think they can bring to the table.
You should also give them a clear sense of how often they should be talking with you and how much time they’ll need from you each week, month, or year. This way, they know exactly what they’re getting into when they agree to work with you.
Guiding Long-Term Vision
While it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind, advisors can help you keep an eye on the long-term vision. Ours helped us consider various exit strategies, prepare for acquisition interest, and even think about international expansion.
Even if these things seem far off, having these discussions early on can dramatically affect the choices you make and the paths you take. The outside perspective of an advisor, combined with their experience, can help you see beyond the immediate challenges to the bigger opportunities ahead.
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