Use it actively!
In part 1 of our article on start-ups and advisory boards, our AAA-advisor Thomas Meyer summarized his thoughts on complimenting, securing and supporting. Today, we complement the topic and talk in part 2 about the experiences of AAA advisors, how start-ups can actively use such an advisory board and how the cooperation between founders and advisory board looks like. We explain to you from our own experience how this works in a beneficial and frictionless way
First things first: any advisory board must be enthusiastic about your idea and your team and willing to go the extra mile for you and your idea! That's why it's important to look out for angel investors with smart money in the seed rounds: Investors who not only want to fund you, but are also willing to contribute time, experience and networks. In this circle you will immediately find natural candidates for an advisory board.
But why set up an advisory board if the angels are already emotionally (and financially) connected to you? This has two advantages: the angels active in an advisory board will contribute even more regularly and proactively - they have assumed a responsibility towards the founders and also towards the co-investors. For you, it has the advantage that you discuss important issues in a structured way and with a certain regularity - and thus "automatically" receive important suggestions and contacts on a regular basis and not just on demand. From our experience: we usually go home from advisory board meetings with a "to do list" of how we can concretely help the start-ups we support.
Why also think about members of an advisory board who are not invested in you? Here you should consider how an advisory board could be composed to be as complementary as possible and thus to be able to support you in all aspects for your business, for your idea and your development phase. To do this, you should specifically approach supporters who can contribute to such an advisory board with complementary profiles. Alignment with your goals can be ensured for these "external" members simply by sharing in the company's success.
What is the best way for an advisory board to work with a startup? Yes - there should be a formal agreement on the composition of the advisory board, how to convene the advisory board, and the role of the advisory board in a brief advisory board charta. Also, there are certain formal topics that should be discussed in an advisory board in a formal meeting, such as an annual plan, liquidity planning, and funding planning.
But from our experience it seems much more important to use the advisory board in (informal) workshops on crucial topics on your agenda. Only in this way you can also use your advisory board as a sounding board and discussion partner. This can also be a simple phone call from an individual member of the advisory board: "Do you have time to discuss ... with us in the next few days? Could you perhaps put us in touch with ...?". In our experience, this active use of the advisory board, with ad-hoc assistance and ad-hoc "video calls" are the greatest benefit for the founders and also the most fun, the greatest satisfaction for us in our activities as advisors or advisory board members.
Curious now? We would be happy to share our experiences with you in more detail.
#passionforimpact #passionforstartups #corporategovernance