How can a startup benefit from an advisory board?

The advisory board provides value in two ways:

  • Helps the founders focus on what is important i.e. what are the future milestones.
  • Helps the founders deal with the challenges and issues associated with critical milestones.

The advisors draw upon their experience, skills, knowledge, and network.

The advisers act as coach, mentor, or instructor.

The base advisor commitment would be approximately five hours a month This would enable attendance (in person or electronically) at advisory board meetings (e.g. one hour a week, 2 hours twice a month, or two hours once a month), participation in quarterly strategy meetings, and brief responses to email requests.  A one hour meeting allows at most two issue to be discussed.

The base founder commitment is to share documented information with the advisory board regarding the issues to be discussed.

Each meeting requires an agenda plus written minutes (e.g. an next steps, any decision made, critical points of discussion.

The agenda issues may arise from both the founders and advisors.  E.g.Founders may not know what they don’t know.

The above is a description of an uncompensated startup advisory board.

A compensated (via equity) advisory board could require up to 20 hours a month from each advisor. The advisors could meet with potential customers, investors, strategic partners, employees, etc.  The advisors may make introductions to their network as well as assist on strategic projects.

Each startup advisory board should be clear on the reason for its being, the value expected, the objective(s), the process, and mutual commitments.  The members of the advisory board should fill expertise gaps which exist in the startup.

The above description drew upon the Founder Advisor Standard Template from the Founders Institute.


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