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February 4, 2015 | Seed and Development

Business Startup Advice: How to Choose an Advisor for Your Startup

When you run a business, you don’t always know the best decisions to make. After all, your expertise is in one area; you might not be well-versed in finance, marketing, management, or growth strategy. That’s where having an advisor comes in handy.

Heck: why stop with just one advisor? Building an advisory panel can give you access to talented people in all the areas of your business that you want help in.

First, Identify Your Areas of Weakness

The key to success is knowing what you’re not good at. You can’t be an expert at everything in your business, so pick the areas you are weakest in, or seek the most help in. These will be the ones you start recruiting advisors to help with.

Maybe you really want to make a splash on social media but aren’t doing it with your current efforts. Then you can find a rock star social media influencer to guide you to success in that area.

Start with 1-3 areas where you think having an advisor will help.

Next, Look at Who You Know

Maybe you’ve always admired a savvy accountant you met at a networking event. She might be a good person to approach about joining your advisory panel, if accounting is a weakness. Look to others you’ve done business with, networked with, or even a friend of a friend to start your search.

If you can’t find who you’re looking for, expand the search. Turn to your social networks, friends, and family. Just have a clear idea of what an advisor will look like, and be sure to avoid people that won’t add value to your advisory panel.

Then, Decide What You Want from Them

Naturally, you want advice. But how regularly will you want your panel to meet? Do they all need to meet together, or can you work with them individually, based on the area you need help with? Do meetings need to be in person, or does virtual also work?

Knowing what you want from them will help you pitch potential advisors. They’ll want to know what’s required of them to determine whether they have the bandwidth to help you.

If you get turned down, keep looking. One advisor may be able to recommend another. Before long, you’ll have a stellar team of people who will help you take your business to the next level!

<a href="" target="_self">Nellie Akalp</a>

Nellie Akalp

Nellie Akalp is an entrepreneur, small business expert, speaker, and mother of four amazing kids. As CEO of, she has helped more than half a million entrepreneurs launch their businesses. Akalp is nationally recognized as one of the most prominent experts on small business legal matters, contributing frequently to outlets like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Huffington Post, Mashable, and Fox Small Business. A passionate entrepreneur herself, Akalp is committed to helping others take the reigns and dive into small business ownership. Through her public speaking, media appearances, and frequent blogging, she has developed a strong following within the small business community and has been honored as a Small Business Influencer Champion three years in a row.

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