Starting any new business is a daunting venture. You are putting your ideas, your reputation and your financial wellbeing on the line. You have to balance your own enthusiasm with a hefty dose of reality, and some skepticism. You can’t do it alone. It’s absolutely crucial to seek out advisors who you respect, who have solid backgrounds, and who are successful in their own right. These are the people who are going to give you perspective on your decisions.
You’ll need to do several things to identify the kind of individuals you want to bring on board. A needs assessment is key. Sit down and establish what your strengths are. Educate yourself in the areas of weakness. Then, when your advisors suggest something, you’ll have a good basic understanding of the merits of their ideas.
Secondly, you’ll need to reach out to your network. Tell them what you are considering, and what needs you have. These contacts are the people who can make strategic introductions to VCs, to financial advisors, to the people who will advise you.
Ensure that you actually like and respect that people you want to ally yourself with. You need to be able to have honest and open discussions with them, and you may hear things that you don’t like at some point in your relationship. Don’t look for people who think the same way you do. You’re looking for a sounding board, not a mirror.
The relationships with your advisors can be as formal or informal as you like. You may wish to establish a board with defined compensation and responsibilities, or you may agree to meet as needed over dinner. Much of this will depend on the scale of your venture and the risks involved to the advisors.
Remember that good advice is hard to find. Listen carefully, and take action thoughtfully. You’ll need lots of help to become successful.