Last week on Hire Power Radio Show, Rick Girard sat down with Jon Shower to talk about the crucial task start-ups have to build a solid board of advisors. By harnessing the power a solid, well-connected professional network, Jon built the advisory board for his brand new company entirely from scratch. A good network is crucial to building a new team, and here, Jon Shower explained how to build a great team even when you’re new to your industry.
Here is what we discussed with Jon Shower on Hire Power Radio Show:
Many great startups are founded to scratch an itch the founder has -- to solve a problem for which the world yet has no solution. Sometimes that itch involves an entirely new market for that found. Perhaps a finance guy suddenly imagines a great idea for an app. He’s ready to turn his new idea into a reality...and has no clue how. Meet a budding entrepreneur’s best friend: the advisor.
The first wave of advisors always starts within your network. You ask your friend whether an idea seems like a viable business, or run business strategies by a former coworker. Most importantly though, these people you already know represent the chance to find your ideal entrepreneurial team.
When you start a new business you wade into relatively uncharted territory. As much as you know about marketing, strategy, tech, and whatnot, you still need teammates to fill in the gaps in your business. Resist the urge to get carried away thinking you have the skills, knowledge or sheer will to do everything yourself. Where do you find these people? By leveraging your network and asking. Seriously, this can change your life.
Go to trade shows, attend local networking events, research where professionals frequent and make a beeline to that location. If your area has a start-up incubator/accelerator, do not hesitate to reach out. No matter the industry, there’s valuable connections and advice to be had across the gamut of business, from nonprofits to real estate.
Here’s the secret: be honest, be upfront, and be willing to help others along their paths. People are attracted to like-minded individuals, and when others know you’re willing to scratch backs, they’re much more likely to scratch yours when you ask. Even if they don’t know you yet.
In the beginning, people might join your advisory board because they like you. Unfortunately, this goodwill only lasts for so long, and the key personnel you’ve assembled will want (and should receive) something in exchange for their time and expertise. When you don’t have the cash flow to cut them a paycheck, there are other enticing things you can offer:
Vesting schedules with clearly defined goals
A timeline of goals before a salaried role
Whenever you’re building a team, whether core or advisory, you want to find the individuals who will make your idea soar. Strong teams are the biggest reason your company fails or succeeds. You don’t want people to listen and agree with you. More arguments showcase passion, and often mean they’re honest and better seasoned in an industry that perhaps you’re not. At the very least you’ll get perspective out of it, and different perspective yields different facets of growth.
Before anything else, target the strategic positions you need to fill. Find communities to join and surround yourself with people who know the people you need to meet. Listen to keynote speakers at events and track them down afterward. If you’re in technology, find someone in the tech sphere. For marketing, track down marketing meetups. Contact people you already know and ask them who they’d hire to build their business model.
What about people who say no when you ask them to come aboard? Well, those are the ones you want. They’re the best in their field -- their time is valuable and they won’t give it up easily. Be persistent and form relationships with them. As long as you’re passionate about something, only good things will come when you pursue it. Tomorrow isn’t promised, so take the risk and find the best people for your team.
Jon Shower is a multi-industry entrepreneur here in Orange County with his most recent venture being in the tech space. Currently, Jon is the founder and CEO of iNK, a new business networking platform geared towards helping people build better networks. They were funded earlier this year and are finishing testing an alpha version while preparing to launch live within the next month.
Following your passion and not being afraid to take risks are two big factors that have led Jon to this point in his journey. A lot of his core values and mindset came from the men in his family as well as his time serving in the United States Marine Corps through the mid-2000's. Jon did two combat tours in Iraq over his 4 years and then decided it was time to move on. Moving to Orange County in 2010, Jon dove into the fitness industry. He started a training company geared towards professional athletes and executive clientele. He created programs for dealing with post-surgery rehab, injury prevention and strength and conditioning. After proving successful over the last 7 years, the itch to follow another idea and passion took over. The tech space was uncharted territory in 2016 for Jon but he had an idea and the passion to see it through. "I knew that building the right team around my million weaknesses would be paramount in a completely new territory....and that's what we have done".
You can reach out to Jon Shower on Linkedin or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep an eye out for iNK’s launch later this month.
About Rick Girard:
Rick Girard is the Managing Director and Founder of Stride Search, an engaged talent search firm. While not running a School for Gifted Mutants, he hosts Hire Power and creates valuable and tactical content for entrepreneurs to utilize to successfully build an outstanding team.