By Thomas Hong
An experienced Advisory Board can be a great benefit to early stage and established hi-tech companies.
CEOs have many challenges and many successful CEOs in Silicon Valley have assembled excellent Advisory Board members to help them in the following areas:
- Major prospective customer contacts
- Corporate partnership contacts
- Provide specific market expertise
- Prospect contacts for key executive staff position
- Financial and Legal contact
- Marketing and Sales strategy and implementation
- Expansion into international markets
Entrepreneurs sometimes invite high profile people to join the Advisory Board knowing that they may not have the time or interest to provide “hands-on” assistance for the company; they think that it would help in the company’s image to have a famous person as their advisor. This is usually not a good strategy. Advisors should be selected who have the time and interest to provide ‘hands-on” help on specific issues. The value of an Advisor is what assistance that person can provide not how well known they are. Most sophisticated investors can evaluate Advisors potential benefit to a business.
It is essential to have experienced and well connected support in seeking outstanding business executives to serve on the Advisory Board. Candidates are usually obtained through personal referrals.
Another process is through networking with organizations that have senior executive members. Organizations like Board of CEOs have principals with extensive knowledge and experience in executive management of numerous companies; especially at the CEO level. The Principals have personally served and continue to serve on the Advisory Board of several companies and have extensive contacts of qualified executives who could be valuable Advisory Board Members for fledging high-tech companies.