Are you struggling for time and headspace to think strategically in your business?
Depending on your growth stage and objectives, a business advisor might be able to help.
From acquiring funding to defining your go-to-market strategy, there are many advantages to hiring a formal advisor.
So should you hire one and how do you approach this engagement?
This is what we’ll cover today – let’s dive in.
What are your strategic objectives?
In order to work effectively with an advisor, you should first consider your strategic objectives.
Do you have them in place? Are they aligned with your growth stage?
Strategic objectives get your team on the same page and help you prioritise. Without a guiding “North Star” how will you know what’s your next step? How will you know which problems to address first?
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
One of the most popular ways to set your strategic objectives is the OKRs framework.
It’s a goal-setting approach advocated by Google and popular among tech businesses around the world – as well as their investors.
In fact, the system was first used by legendary CEO Andy Grove at Intel. It’s now adopted by the likes of Google, Intuit, and the Gates Foundation.
If you need a formal structure to set and organise your targets, you can learn more about OKRs in the video below:
You can also read a step-by-step guide for creating your OKRs here.
And if you need help setting your strategic objectives, you can book a strategic review with Invigorate.
Identify the key issues to address
Once you have a clear roadmap and targets, you can narrow in on the crucial issues you need to tackle first in order to achieve them.
These will become the basis for your engagement with one or more business advisors.
How advisors can help meet your objectives
So what are some of the potential use cases for working with an advisor? While you will have a unique situation, here are some of the best ways to utilize the services of a strategic advisor:
While you may have good unit economics and access to funding, an advisor can introduce you to the right investors for your business.
The ones who can contribute not only money but also time, attention, connections, and expertise in your industry.
A good advisor can also bring support when it comes to pitching – improving your slide deck, delivery and even pinpointing potential risks in your business model.
This external perspective can increase your chances of getting the right type of investors at the right valuation, faster.
Recommended reading: Why startups struggle to raise funding
Build new departments and hire key employees
If you’re in the scaleup phase, you will need more than just money to grow.
You will also need people.
But according to most recruiters, it’s now harder than ever to find good talent.
Especially for key roles like a Head of Sales or a CTO.
An advisor who has gone through the same journey before can connect you to key hires or take an interim role to help you build up new departments – and do it quickly.
Review your strategy
It’s easy to get wrapped up in your business and occasionally miss the forest for the trees.
Especially if you’re a solo founder or you’re still building a leadership team, talking to an external advisor can bring new opportunities that seem hidden at first.
Even a 60-minute meeting once a month can help you take a step back and look at the big picture, especially when you talk to an advisor-mentor who has a track record of both successes and failures in your industry.
This is a fast and flexible way to get unstuck whenever you encounter an issue where the next step is unclear.
Recommended Leadership Advisor: Robert Yeo
Some advisors have connections to journalists that can get you new press coverage, amplifying your reach whenever you have a big announcement or story to share.
Some of the situations when you might need a PR advisor include:
- You’ve raised a new round of funding.
- You launched a new product.
- You want to share a thought-leadership piece with a wider audience.
It’s hard to get good press so a well-connected advisor can become your key to the most influential journalists and publications in your space.
Recommended reading: How to Get Good Press
Reduce major costs
It’s easy for costs to get out of hand, especially when your company is growing and you have lots of cash in the bank.
Still, you should keep things under control if you want to build a sustainable company.
And while advisors aren’t cheap, the right one can reduce your key costs such that the investment becomes a no-brainer.
Here are some examples:
As you move into a new growth stage, there will be endless options to promote your business – from social media to email and PR. An experienced advisor can point you to the right channels for your industry and stage so you don’t waste resources trying out everything that’s available to you.
Recommended Growth Advisor: Oren Greenberg
Your technology costs can also skyrocket during the scaleup stage – an experienced IT advisor can point you to the right technology and services for your situation that can greatly reduce your IT overhead.
Recommended Tech Advisor: Rich Kershaw
If you use advisors strategically, you might fill some “must-have” roles without parting with a chunk of your company or paying a huge salary. For example, an interim head of sales and marketing can set up your initial structure and hand off the rains to an executive-type person later.
These are just some of the ways an advisor can help you keep costs under control as your company grows.
Set up reporting
For a scaleup, understanding how your prospects convert at each stage – and how well you retain customers – is crucial to plan your marketing spend and overall business strategy.
However, there are metrics you should monitor based on your growth stage that are not easy to track or set up.
This is where an advisor can help.
They can direct you to the right metric for your growth stage and help you track it on a regular basis.
For example, a SaaS company could track:
- Average Revenue Per Account
- Net MRR Growth Rate
- Lead Velocity Rate
- CAC Payback Period
All of these require concrete data and alignment around their definitions. An expert advisor with a background in data analysis can speed up this type of reporting so you have real insight into your business – without wasting weeks gathering information and updating your tracking setup.
Set up processes faster
Especially during the scaleup stage, it’s important to have a strong library of processes so that new hires can quickly get up to speed.
And advisors are likely to have access to processes, templates, and frameworks they’ve used elsewhere – which could work for your situation.
This can speed up your work as you can get to execution immediately without having to reinvent the wheel.
Recommended Operations Advisor: Andrew Maddox
How to find an advisor for your situation
Now that we covered some of the reasons why you might want to work with an advisor – how do you go about hiring one?
How do you find the advisor that has experience in your industry and the area of expertise you need help with – specifically for your stage of growth?
You could ask your network for recommendations.
Or post a job – either on standard job boards or platforms like Upwork. There’s no shortage of options available.
However, the nature of this relationship requires advanced matching – after all, there aren’t that many people that successfully exited a business like yours in the UK and are actively looking for an advisor role in a job board.
In fact, the average business spends 2,000+ hours per year looking for and vetting strategic support.
Invigorate is an advisory marketplace that connects you with successful serial entrepreneurs, CXOs, and senior managers from the likes of Google and Amazon.
People who have been there and done that – ready to help get your company to the next level faster.
If you want to connect with an experienced advisor today, learn how Invigorate works.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, a business advisor can provide the clarity you need to move forward.
In order to find this person, start by setting and evaluating your strategic objectives. They will provide the basis for a potential engagement.
Tip: You can also book a strategic review with Invigorate to help you identify objectives and help accelerate your growth journey.
And while all advisors are different, the right ones have one thing in common – they bring much more to the relationship than you initially pay them for.
Read through the case studies on the advisor profiles to get a better understanding of how our advisors have helped businesses just like yours.
This may come in the form of connections, processes, or that small tip that saves you thousands in IT costs.
Lastly, if you need an easy way to connect with the UK’s top advisors, apply to join Invigorate now.