12 Items You Should Include in an Advisory Board Candidate Recruitment Package

advisory board

Ultimately, the fit is as important to the advisory board candidate as it is to the entrepreneurs and the company. If it is learned that the fit doesn’t exist after the advisor has been on-boarded, it will likely turn out to be a waste of time for everyone.

Selecting an advisory board member is an important endeavor.

It is critical to the venture that the fit between the players is strong for the venture to appropriately leverage the effort. The entrepreneur will, by definition be seeking to fill gaps that exist within the startup in terms of experience and knowledge in specific subject areas in which their team has less familiarity. Additionally, they will want advisors who will support their effort to further develop the network outreach of the company, enabling it to possess greater breadth of exposure in the marketplace.

5 Attributes the Entrepreneur Should Seek in Identifying Advisory Board Members for Their Startup

The stronger the fit, the stronger the relationship.

Equally important is the fit between the entrepreneur’s and their company’s culture and the advisory board candidate and her values, philosophies and approaches to issues. To insure that the fit is good, the entrepreneurs and their company need to take the time to get to know the candidate, who she is, her values and her approaches to problems and issues. Likewise, they need to enable the candidate the opportunity to learn about the company and the key players prior to joining the advisory board. Ultimately, both the company and the potential advisory board member should be comfortable the fit exists.

In order to gain this comfort, the startup should provide the advisory board candidate a recruitment package which enables her to obtain an in depth understanding of the company and its objectives prior to any face to face interview or meeting with the key players.

The entrepreneur should consider including the following:

  1. Company Vision, Mission and Values – The vision shares what your company hopes to accomplish and why it’s important; the mission communicates how you will drive the vision; and the values provide the moral and ethical standards to which your company aspires. These will enable the candidate to understand who the company is, what they do, how they do it and why, providing a framework upon which to compare their own goals, objectives and values.

Clarify the Vision – 10 Questions to Create an Effective Vision Statement

  1. Current Company Organizational Chart, (Including Boards) – Enabling the candidate to understand the micro environment and her place in it will be helpful to her assessment of the fit.
  2. Company Background, Milestones Achieved, Milestones Being Pursued – Obtaining an understanding of the company’s history and its successes to date will enable the candidate to determine if her experience, skills and contributions should be able to support the company in its effort to meet its future goals and objectives.
  3. Executive Summary, (if available) – A well written executive summary is typically comprehensive and would provide the candidate an excellent overview of the company and the path forward.

Why Your Executive Summary is Headed for the Trash!

  1. Product or Service – Understanding the customer pain that exists in the marketplace, or stated differently, the problem the product or service is solving and how it does so is of critical importance to the viability of the company and the candidate’s interest in the company.
  2. Target Market and Customers – The candidate should understand who the company’s target customers are and why they have been chosen.
  3. Channels to Market – Understanding the channels to market will assist the candidate in understanding the go-to-market plan and its viability.
  4. Key Competitors – Identification of company competitors will enable the candidate to consider her knowledge of them, if conflicts exist and if she can provide valuable support related to the subject.
  5. Current Year Operating Plan – The company’s current year operating plan will provide the candidate a glimpse into your approach, your level of sophistication and the issues to which she will be providing support.
  6. Advisory Board Role / Mission – Understanding the role of the advisory board, the expectations and parameters under which it will operate will provide the candidate a strong overview of the level of support expected and possible.

3 Considerations for Advisory Board Compensation

  1. Advisory Board Candidate Role / Mission – Having an understanding of her specific role will enable her to determine if she believes she can contribute, if the contributions are in areas which she has an interest and considers strengths and potentially, in concert with the information above, if she will be able to have an impact. She will likely not be interested if she cannot have such an impact.
  2. Compensation Type Envisioned – Advisory Board Members can be compensated on a monetary basis, a non-monetary basis, through equity/stock options or a combination of the above. She will desire to understand what you are offering and if it will, in her mind be appropriate compensation for the task at hand. Types of advisory board compensation will be covered in more detail in a future article.

Ultimately, the fit is as important to the advisory board candidate as it is to the entrepreneurs and the company. If it is learned that the fit doesn’t exist after the advisor has been on-boarded, it will likely turn out to be a waste of time for everyone.


Tony Lettich

Tony Lettich has previous corporate venture capital experience and currently serves as Managing Director of The Angel Roundtable. He is a co-founder of FundingSage, which provides valuable information, tools and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start, grow and fund a business.