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Practical advice for cyber security entrepreneurs. Learn from our experience.


2
MAR

Building an Advisory Board for Your Start-up

 

Building an advisory board may seem like a daunting task. But taking into consideration the right principles, you can put together an advisory board quicker than you can imagine.

As a start-up CEO, having a smart and strategic advisory board is invaluable. We recommend building a strong board of advisors right away to support the early years of your start-up.  

In that initial period when prioritizing is a challenge, creating an advisory board should be at the top of the list. It is just as important as hiring your management team and employees.

You may be surprised to discover that the members of your advisory board offer more wisdom, experience, knowledge and support than your board members and even your colleagues.

To create the strong advisory board that you need to succeed, look for a team with the following abilities:

  1. A strong work ethic: Request a significant time committment and be sure that they are prepared to invest the effort required to provide solid exepertise for your business. Being an advisory board member should require regular presence on site. Over the phone help is just not the same.
  1. A broad network: Find advisors who can supplement their personal counsel through a broad network of people with substantial experience in your business. Invite a successful ex-CEO that has fulfilled a similar role to yours.  Find a few people that can play the role of potential customers and challenge your product team. Find an advisory board member from a big company in your industry, so you might follow in his footsteps to become a big company in that same industry. Seek a marketing expert for the advisory team. Israeli companies are known for their weakness in marketing, an advisory expert could make a significant difference.
  1. Proven leadership: Surround yourself with people who have more experience and knowledge than you do. Especially for your advisory board. No one can possibly be an expert in every area of your business, and that includes you. Your best bet is to put together a council of people who are as knowledgeable as possible about every critical area of your venture. For you, it’s enough to know exactly what those areas are.
  1. Different opinions: One of the worst things is an advisory board whose members all sing the same tune. Your challenge is to fill the room with a group of people who don’t think the same way, and think differently than you. Their contribution to the right go-to-market strategy will be priceless.
  1. Risk takers: There is value to ensuring that your advisory board members are willing to take some risks for your start-up. This doesn't necessarily mean a monetary investment, but at least a willingness to share contacts and open doors for the company. A board member with a strong network should be able to offer some shortcuts that could dramatically improve your start-ups’ chances of success.