What skills and experience should I be looking for in an advisor?

I’m looking to get a heavy-hitting advisor on board in order to give assurances to potential investors. What kind of skills and experience should I be looking for in order to impress investors?


You can work with an advisor in several ways. They can be involved on a short-term paid or voluntary basis, they can hold a more formal “advisory board” position and be paid in cash or equity, or they can become a director of your company, and be paid in cash or equity.

 

For this question, let’s assume you have an advisory board member who is retained for a small fee with the potential for equity in the future.

 

Your advisory board member should ideally add more than assurances to potential investors.

 

They should also bring connections, customers, industry expertise, and a path to exit.

 

They should be able to advise and mentor you and your team. If they can do all this, they should satisfied you and your investors.

 

You advisor’s skills should include some or all of the following:

  •  strong industry sector experience with track record of running similar sized or types of businesses.
  • good sales and marketing knowledge.
  • financial management understanding.
  • good presentational and communication abilities.
  • solid network of experts in the field.
  • technical understanding of your sector.
  • track record of merger and acquisition activity (capital raising, buying and selling businesses).

To have achieved this level of skill the advisor would be over 40 years old. If you can find, attract, and retain such an advisor, they should reassure investors and others in your business.

 

Indeed, all strong businesses have strong advisors around them – legal, finance, marketing, M&A, and so on; but all weak businesses tend to have no advisors, or weak advisors.

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