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To get the best advice you have to know what it looks like
As a founder, you obviously need to push for the best guidance your advisors have to offer. Over the last 8 years I have sat in tons of…
As a founder, you obviously need to push for the best guidance your advisors have to offer. Over the last 8 years I have sat in tons of meetings with smart people offering guidance to founders — I have learned a lot, but one thing I learned is that as a founder, I didn’t have a clear sense of what great advice looks like — and so I didn’t do a great job demanding it.
Let’s say your company misses a product deadline. Let’s also say that sales pipelines get smaller as qualified leads (who were sold on the new features) drop out. Let’s also say existing customers are not happy, churn is higher than planned and revenue and margin goals are missed.
Most founders I know have advisors or board members to help them think through this type of situation. But, advice comes in varying levels of quality…
The bad advisors point out the obvious, make sure you know it is your problem and leave the silence in the room to absorb their detached judgemental stare,
You missed on revenue and your margins are low. WTF?
The neutral advisors also point out the obvious, but then ask how they can help. (The neutral+ will then actually help after the meeting.)
It seems like your business is really sensitive to product timelines. How can we improve the process to better meet customer expectations?
The better advisors will identify the cause of the current challenge and suggest options to solve the problem in this specific case.
The miss on product has me worried about the team. Do you feel like we have the right people on this team or that more resources for this team would address this challenge?
The best advisors can identify the root cause of the specific challenge you are facing. They help you connect the dots from the specific challenge to the general problem and then make a recommendation for change that is actionable and generalizable across the company.
This company has a tendency to hire too junior and too late. Do you see the similarities between this miss in product and early misses as other teams started to scale in the past? I think we saw similar challenges in sales and marketing and believe we need to change our overall mindset around the timing of hires and seniority of the team we are building.
If we work together and I am not offering you my “best” you make us both better when you call me out.