As and founder, entrepreneur and advisor I have been on both ends of this process multiple times in my career and it cannot be understated how important this process is and I wanted to share a few insights from going through this process.
Seek out those smarter (IQ & EQ) than you
I have built an advisory board for a startup I co-founded and I am currently building one for a new venture and I can tell you from experience in both instances I was dogmatic and still am about seeking out the best and brightest people to serve on my advisory board. And not just book smarts or subject matter experts, but people with high IQ and EQ. Startups are both a logical and emotional game and your advisors need to help you manage both. I have gone to advisors asking for advise on both business models and operations as well as gone to them when I’m stressed, frustrated or feeling isolated which can happen to early-stage startup founders. Make sure these are people you go to for advice on both.
Seek diversity in life and experience
You want your board of advisors to be as diverse a group of people as you can possibly find, both in life, but also in their professional experience. The advisory role that I currently serve on I am a foil to the founder. He and I have completely different professional experience so I can help advise him on matters that he isn’t as familiar with while he handles core parts of the business that I have no experience with. Look for lawyers, thoughts leaders, business experts, people young and old, individuals in your industry and individuals from other industries that might be able to bring a new perspective. When starting a new venture or startup you are going to be heads down on building and growing, build you advisory board to have individuals who are immersed in other experiences so they an bring those perspectives in for you when it comes time to make an important decision.
Your advisory board should a blended set of experiences and perspectives that you can lean on. As a founder you will have plenty on your plate, and as your business grows and scales the demands and challenges will only get more complex and come at you faster. Having a group of trusted minds that can listen and provide insight and context from their experience.