Over the last several weeks I have had the same question asked… so here is my secret of getting great advisors.. enjoy.. the secret starts at 2:15 in the video.
Hello there, Mike Grabham here again today. You know, over the last several weeks, I’ve had the same exact question asked to me three different times. How do I find an advisor, a co-founder or a new employee?
Like one of the first few employees of the startup. They’re all a little different, and definitely finding a co-founder is by far the hardest, and is actually very different than the other method of looking for an advisor and or a first level employee. Focus on finding advisors, and finding one of the first three, four, five employees you need for your startup.
First thing to do, is you have to be crystal clear on what you want. So, here’s what happens, let’s say you know someone in your area, in your neighborhood, in your city, that knows a lot of people. You think oh I’ll just send an email to that person, see if they know people. Here’s the thing to do, make sure you’re very specific on what you’re looking for, the persons worked this long, they have this experience in this industry, they have these skill sets. Very specific about what you’re looking for. If you include that and send me an email, or whoever it is, I then can make a decision very quickly, like oh I know someone who may fit that. But when you send me an email like hey, I’m looking for a salesperson, wow, that’s a huge bucket, I don’t even know where to start. But if you focus and narrow it down, that really helps me make decisions, and allows me to think really clearly, and my mental Rolodex is like, oh yeah I do know some people in that.
So that’s the first thing, be very clear what you’re looking for, whether that’s an advisor, or that’s a first employee, very clear. The second thing now, again there’s no simple book for this, and really a lot of shaking hands, and 15 minute coffee’s, and phone calls. So, you need to go to meetups, you need to go to all types of events, you can have lots of people that you can chat with, and talk about your startup. Just network with them and ask them questions, and who do they know, et cetera et cetera, right? You have to do that, there is no way to avoid it.
That is number one, but secondarily, what you should do and could do. Say you’re looking for an advisor in a certain role, well, do this, and this has worked amazingly well twice in my life. Go to LinkedIn, do a search, and again, I assume you know exactly what you’re looking for, so you search for people that look like that, but are retired. So let’s assume you’re looking for an advisor in, say, enterprise sales, it’s pretty generic. Enterprise sales for utility companies, let’s just say it’s that. Well, find a person who was doing that in the past, for some other company, right, so find the company on LinkedIn, go through the people who worked there, or have worked there, you can do all this on LinkedIn, and if they’ve retired over the last say six to twelve to eighteen months, that’s a perfect fit. The reason they’re a perfect fit, is because they normally still want to be engaged in business, they still want to do things. Many of them have retired because they have enough money to retire, not because they’re just tired of working, right? So, they may be absolute perfect fits, and many of them want to help startups. So, it’s very simple, identify eight, ten, twelve of those people, that you think are potential advisors, just send them a blind e-mail on LinkedIn. Say hey, I’m looking for this type of person, as an advisor I think you’re a great fit, can I take 15 minutes and talk about it on the phone. And here’s a little blurb about your product. You do that, you’d be amazed.
I did it myself twice in my life, last time I did it I sent nine emails on a Sunday evening. By the end of Monday, I had six e-mails back. And two of those people actually became advisors. So, it isn’t hard, but it does take some effort. The same thing can be done if you’re looking for that first, second, or third employee, those early employees. You’re basically acting like a recruiter, and you just go find companies where those people are working, send them blind e-mails, talk about your product, show your passion. Say hey, I just want 15 minutes. And granted, with employees, you’re gonna have to send more e-mails to do that. But, it’s still the same process.
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