Finding 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. It is actually very different than the other method of looking for an advisor or a first level employee. Focus on finding advisors, and finding one of the first three to five employees you need for your startup.
Be crystal clear
First thing 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 or 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 make sure you’re very specific on what you’re looking for. The person has worked this long, they have this experience in this industry and these skill sets. Be very specific about what you’re looking for. If you include that and send me an email, 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. If you focus and narrow it down that really helps me make decisions, and allows me to think really clearly.
Word of mouth is a vital part of networking, (Click to Tweet)
So that’s the first thing to be very clear what you’re looking for. Whether that’s an advisor, or that’s a first employee be very clear. Second is networking. That involves a lot of shaking hands, 15 minute coffee’s, and phone calls. So, you need to go to meetups and attend all types of events. This gives you lots of people that you can chat with and talk about your startup. Just network with them and ask them questions about who and what do they know. You have to do that, there is no way to avoid it.
Other ways to find an advisor or employees
That is one way to do find advisor’s. There are other ways to look for advisors and employees. For instance, say you’re looking for an advisor in a certain role well, do this, and it has worked amazingly well twice in my life. Go to LinkedIn, do a search. 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 enterprise sales for utility companies. Well, find a person who was doing that in the past, for some other company. 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 eighteen months, that’s a perfect fit.
Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.-Abraham Lincoln
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. So, they may be absolute perfect fits and many of them want to help startups. So it’s very simple identify eight to 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, may I have 15 minutes of your time to talk about it over the phone. And here’s a little blurb about your product. You do that, you’d be amazed.
I did it myself twice. The last time I did it I sent nine emails on a Sunday evening. By the end of Monday, I had six e-mails back. Two of those people actually became advisors. It isn’t hard, but it does take some effort. The same thing can be done if you’re looking for your first, employee. You’re basically acting like a recruiter. You just go find companies where those people are working, send them blind e-mails, talk about your product, show your passion. With employees, you’re gonna have to send more e-mails to do that. But, it’s still the same process.