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Finding a great startup advisor  

When I look back at the kind of naive mistakes I made on previous startup endeavours, it almost physically hurts, particularly when considering how avoidable many of them were. I excuse myself by saying that I didn't know any better, that I've learned a bit now.

What gets really scary is that I haven't stopped making those mistakes. No matter how confident I might be today, in one year I will look back and see many silly mistakes that I made, things that in hindsight will seem obvious but which are entirely opaque to me today.

The right kind of advice, delivered in the right manner at the right time can make or break your startup. This is why building relationships to other people within the startup community is so important. Learning to run businesses well can take quite a few years and involve hundreds of avoidable mistakes. The right advisor can help you avoid those mistakes and save you enormous amounts of unnecessary pain and cost.

Here's some good advice from Jason Freedman on why and how to select people to advise you on your startup journey:

There are many parts of the start-up process that don't need significant innovation. An entrepreneur's education is to learn all these conventions that work well and then innovate on their product.

The conventions can vary greatly depending on the year, industry, country, and so on, which is why personalised advice from someone who cares and has been there recently enough is so essential. Jason outlines a few key attributes of a good advisor for your startup:

  • They're only a few steps further down the path.
  • They're happy to help with the small challenges.
  • They will call you out when you do stupid stuff.
  • They're respected by your cofounders.
  • They care more about you personally than about your startup.

Sound advice.

More from the library:
Startup cooking: don't eat pizza and ramen
Think small, be specific
How to set up meetings with customers, investors, mentors, ...