Last week's Taking the Scary Out of Startup series discussed culture as a touchstone. Not only do we have wonderful Trakers who support our culture, but we would not be where we are today without our advisors. And just like identifying your intellectual property (IP) and creating your IP strategy, you can never start too soon - finding your advisors that is. Also, as you grow and change directions (the “p” word that I do not like that rhymes with divot), your advisory board must do the same. Do not be afraid to ask your advisors to commit for a year at a time and revisit the fit each year.
Advisory board & mentors – from day #1
Jennifer Lefere was and still is our first advisor. I went to her with the idea for our self-guided questionnaire using my Turbo Tax analogy* in late January 2010. Over the first few years, we did not have a formal structure or regular meetings like we do today. Regardless, being able to reach out with questions over that informal period was valuable and helped us form our products.
We had the benefit of Brad Bertoglio’s expertise on the board as both an attorney and a successful entrepreneur. Brad’s knowledge of the intake process for a patent attorney and his careful review of our report lead us to create the IP Snapshot report (in our new version) to assist attorneys. Brad recently took a new role with another startup as a COO but we hope to collaborate in the future.
We just passed Dan Tyre’s one year anniversary as a Traklight advisor. It seems like we have always had Dan’s incredible energy around and it is contagious. Dan is an overachiever in terms of contribution–he is a sales guru, passionate entrepreneur, tireless cheerleader, and most of all, he is not afraid to tell it like it is. Having someone who will tell you to focus, change gears, persevere, or that you have screwed up is vital to a startup’s success.
Look for advisors who complement your team’s skill sets and look for people who will be your company’s evangelist. Some startups insist that the advisory board invests in the venture (I can go either way on that) but given the choice between connections and cash, I will take the connections any day!
*Just to clarify – ID your IP® is like Turbo Tax in that you do not have to know anything about intellectual property (IP) laws and practices to use the self-guided questionnaire and create a custom IP strategy. It can either replace that traditional, first in-person visit to an attorney, or make it more meaningful while saving both you and the attorney time and money. ID your IP does not create patent, trademark, or copyright protection – only our Vault can secure our trade secrets.
Purchase ID your IP to start working on your IP strategy today! Purchase includes questionnaire, unlimited updates for one year, 30-day free IP Vault trial, and three IP reports. More details on our website.