Startup Leadership: How to Select Advisory Board Members

Here's why an advisory board can be a great step forward for any startup — you just have to make sure you have the right people on your...

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Sometimes, it is simply a process of going to the people who already advise you and making it official. In fact, this is often the best scenario.


Building Relationships

Creating an official board of advisors should be an organic process.

If you haven’t relied on experts and mentors for advice in the past, don’t force it. You need to build relationships with people you trust before you ask them to join your company as an advisor.

Start by seeking out people you respect. Find individuals who have served as advisors in the past, are known as qualified mentors, or have skills that would be valuable to your company.

Also, don’t be shy. For instance, imagine if someone who liked what you were building approached you and struck up a conversation. You wouldn’t turn that person away; and it is unlikely you will be turned away, either.

Tell prospective board members that you admire what they have created, what they do, and how they think. Convey your respect for what they have accomplished and you’ll see that respect paid back.

An entrepreneur’s journey is often complicated.

You learn a lot along the way — usually by making mistakes. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Forming an advisory board can provide you with support and guidance, without taking away any of your decision-making abilities. Whether you’re ready to create an official board or still need to find advisors you trust, be proactive. That’s just, well, good advice.


Sol Orwell is co-founder of Examine.com, an independent, science-based compendium on supplements, nutrition, fitness, and health. Founded in early 2011, the company has one goal: to be the source for supplements and nutrition. Examine.com is currently working on a beginner’s guide to supplementation. Connect with Sol on Twitter.


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