by: Angel Nonye-John on
With tech startups and social enterprises, it’s not uncommon to see a board of advisors. While it’s known to be an essential part of the startup team, early stage founders often have many questions about startup advisors and what they provide. From the day to day, the Mansa Colabs team has noticed recurring themes and questions about advisors.
Who are startup advisors?
Advisors come from all sectors and have a variety of experience. Typically, they have expertise or experience that the founders lack. Advisors haven’t necessarily started their own startup or social enterprise. You should look for advisors with strong expertise in a particular domain and look at an entrepreneurial background as a plus.
What do startup advisors do?
Have you ever wondered how you should develop your cross market entry strategy in Nigeria or UX design? While you can just attempt trial and error, guessing with your strategy can be costly and possibly finish startup resources. Advisors play the role of a sounding board. They can advise you based on their experience and observations in a particular country or sector. Apart from being a mentor of sorts, the best startup advisors will have access to large networks of prospective strategic partners, team members, clients and investors.
How to compensate startup advisors?
It depends. See your relationship with your advisor as a long term deal. At first, your team of advisors will probably be unpaid. However, as your company grows and they deliver, you should compensate them in some way. Also, advisors are also best positioned to possibly invest in their advisee companies.
How do I find advisors?
First, decide what kind of advisors you need. Map out your learning needs or skills gap and identify 2-3 types of advisors for your startup. Start tapping into your existing networks. Think about people who you have met through mutual acquaintances or events. Make you and your advisors are clear about expectations and commitment.
How can Mansa Colabs help?
Here at Mansa Colabs, we have a Virtual Advisory Service (VAS) for smaller advisory support for startups in Africa and the Diaspora. Through our VAS, we match early stage startups and social enterprises with advisors in our network through a month-to-month subscription model. We charge a minimal fee for the VAS subscription. For those interested in more hands-on advisory, like conducting market research in Ghana or business development in the Diaspora, we work with the individual startup to create a mutually beneficial arrangement.