It is usually said that entrepreneurship is jumping off a cliff and building a parachute to survive the fall. If you are a startup founder, you can instantly relate to this. If you are about to do a startup. Close your eyes and think about the situation for a while. You are jumping off the cliff. You need a parachute.
What are the chances of survival? Bare minimum.
Startup founders are tough and resilient people who survive tense situations, never let an undesirable output knock them down and are even hopeful in the worst case scenarios. The chances of survival can be increased by having an adviser on board. An adviser who believes in you and can help you achieve more by using her life lessons and experiences.
Who is an adviser
A mentor or adviser is someone who advises, invests, or makes introductions for the startup. An adviser doesn’t have to do all the things but a good one usually does all.
A good adviser owns and endorses your product. She doesn’t hesitate to make introductions. Sometimes, she is the first one to invest in your product to show her confidence in you. She gives a crisp and solid piece of advice.
She wants you to succeed and wants to be a catalyst in the process. There are no bad advisers as such, there are only bad decisions. Don’t forget that the decision maker is you.
Where to find an adviser
You can find advisers at community or networking events, hackathons, incubators, and other relevant places. You can even cold call or email people who you think can advise you. If you are doing something great, chances are, a lot of people will be happy to advise you and help you out.
You can find advisers in your product/service users as well. This is how I found mine. It is not unusual that some experienced people are using your product and want to improve it by helping you out. Stay open.
How to work with an adviser
You can do weekly one-on-one meetings. If you have a board of advisers, you can do quarterly meetings with them. Make a rule in life that you will listen to everyone but will do what you deem fit. The same rule applies to startup advisers. You are not supposed to follow everything your advisers says. You are running the show, everything boils down to what you think will be best for your startup.
Also, good (and bad) advice can come from anywhere. It is not necessary that a successful, experienced person will have a good advice for you. Be receptive and proactive, it is with experience you will learn the difference.