Need Skin in the Game for the Advisor Role to Work

As I develop some time-dependent experience being an Advisor, one thing is clear — if there is no skin in the game for the CEO or management team, very little value is obtained.  Only one of the companies i work with does it right. I speak to the CEO once a week, like clock-work. We review all relevant business issues, both past, present and upcoming. We talk out alternatives, we explore different ways to think about business challenges. We share successes and we explore pain points. We talk about the industry. In fact, I’ve never actually met the management team of this company, we have developed our working relationship exclusively on-line — mostly on the phone.  The great thing is that they are doing well and seem poised for fast growth which is exciting to watch, even if from a distance.

I’ve come to the conclusion that all Advisor relationship need to include a monthly fee and an option package to get the team to treat the relationship seriously. Their should be a statement of work that both parties bye into and some accountability for providing the time needed to make it work. Bringing on board an advisor for their name or to be a figurehead on a slide is cheesy. In fact, if startup teams don’t understand how easy it is to make many mistakes growing a business,  they will probably not realize how much they are failing until the surprise wears off of why investors won’t give them more money.


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