So you raised your financing and brought a couple impressive folks on as advisors or board members. That is awesome! But, it’s more than just money and names – your investors and your advisors are there for you beyond that initial commitment, and they need to be. But not necessarily if you don’t ask, as these are very busy people juggling tons of different priorities. If they’re good, they should be juggling, right?!
We’re very fortunate to have an A-Team supporting us here at our business dashboard startup, Dasheroo. Sharp investors, and seasoned and insightful board members and board advisors. Plus they are all fun as hell to work with! In this Startup Lessons article I want to show you the diversity of our advisors and investors and what they provide depending on what we need at specific times.
Just a sampling of their many contributions over and above their money:
Matt Holleran – General Partner, Cloud Apps Capital Partners (Board Member): Cloud Apps is our lead investor, and Matt is our board member, along with me. Matt is the ‘King of Connections’. The ‘Open Sesame’ of strategic business contacts. He seems to knows everyone, and everyone has huge respect for him. When I needed an intro to one of the largest social media publishing platforms, well, he was visiting with the CEO that weekend! Plus he is excellent at helping position our value within the perfect context of each potential partner we discuss. Thay type of value you just can’t buy.
Judy Loehr – Venture Partner, Cloud Apps Capital Partners (Board Advisor): Well, where do I start? Judy could be the CMO at damn near any company in the galaxy. So it’s more of a ‘where’ do I ask for input issue. Early on, it was helping establish and vet out our Go-To-Market strategy and pricing approach. Now it’s helping navigate the waters of a very large CRM company we’re beginning a strategic relationship with.
John Jantsch, Founder & CEO Duct Tape Marketing (Advisor): John regularly speaks at social media and marketing conferences around the world. And writes lots of great books. OK, so what does John do for us? He continually provides us with proven, down to earth, practical ideas and feedback. Recently, he advised us on our soon-to-be-released agency pricing (we listened to every word), and we are busy working on ways to have a tight Duct Tape – Dasheroo relationship. We love John because of his never vague, always immediately valuable and pretty easy to implement ideas.
Walter Kortschak, Managing Partner Kortschak Investments (Investor & Advisor): Walter is a large investor and advisor. We’re starting to scale, plus I need advice on the metrics and growth we need to show for a potential B-Round of financing in 2016. Who better to get insight from than a guy like Walter? He was an original investor in MacAfee and helped them achieve super stardom, and has also invested in big-scale companies like Twitter, Evernote and Lyft. So he knows the ins and outs of scaling a successful global business. And again, no ‘pie in the sky’ where it’s not warranted. He has decades of experience and no ego. As we grow, Water will be an even more valuable go-to on building enterprise sales and overall growth of our business.
Maurice Werdegar and Rob Glasser, Western Technology Investments We are honored to count these guys in as an investor in Dasheroo. I liked these guys from the get go; they have a no B.S. attitude and pragmatic approach to helping create successful businesses. We caught up a couple days ago, and they are now going to introduce us to a bunch of their portfolio companies. And if we decide to consider venture debt, they are the highly respected firm in the industry.
Janine Popick, board advisor and Dasheroo CMO. Well, first she grew leading email service provider and SMB darling VerticalResponse into a 1,000,000+ SMB success before she sold it. So she knows a thing or three about the SMB market – how to acquire and retain them. And, I mean this in a good way, lots of ‘in the trenches, here’s what NOT to do’ lessons that only a long-time successful entrepreneur can teach you.
Bottom line: each of these folks has played a huge part in Dasheroo’s growth and we’ve benefitted from quantifiable, measurable value out of them so you need to incorporate them into your business:
- Have a monthly or quarterly meeting with them with a shortened version of your board deck talking about all of the things you accomplished with one slide: Where You Can Help.
- Include them on a weekly or monthly progress email so you’re “in their face”. We add all of our investors and advisors on a weekly email called Track Our Startup. Maybe they read it and think “hey, I can help this week.”
- If you’re coming up on a big decision (like pricing or a legal issue) where one of them has expertise or experience with it, reach out on that specific item.
- If you need to meet someone very strategic to your business look them up on LinkedIn and see if they’re connected. Then ask for an intro! They can’t read your mind, you have to do the research.
So remember – it’s easy to do all the work to get an investment and advisor team together then go about your business and forget to reach out for help to grow and make their time and money pay back to the largest extent possible. And these people are B-U-S-Y, you cannot expect them to have you top of mind, you have to be the one reaching out.
Now all of that said, we are truly fortunate at Dasheroo in that all the folks I mentioned above DO proactively reach out to help!