There are two key factors to consider in order to be great startup advice from outside experts: Pick the right team, and always know what you want before you ask.
The startup process is by its very nature evolutionary.
Serial entrepreneurs often have a fairly well developed professional support mechanism. On the other hand, someone new to the game will either have no professional relationships or a licensed professional who has helped with other personal matters. In either case, risks emerge.
The tendency when you are bootstrapping is to be “cheap.” Don’t be. Be “prudent.” Find professionals who are truly fluent in the topic for which you need advice.
From a practical point of view, you should never go to any professional until you understand the parameters of an issue and fundamentally know what you want to do. You need to do your job first.
Do not go in and ask an open-ended question like, “What should I do?”
This will engender a long interchange and you will end up having to explain what you are trying to do any way. Inevitably, the result will be a sizeable bill and relatively poor advice.
Be prepared. You need to research the question.
Specifically, what is the issue? What action do you want to take? What is the outcome you want?
Basically, you want to know what you want to do before you ask for advice. The question(s) should be, “I want ‘this’ to happen. Is that OK? If not, what are my alternatives to still make ‘this’ happen, or something very close to it?”
Advice from licensed professionals like attorneys and accountants can be worth every penny and more. Or, it can be an utter waste of money that squanders resources and sets you back. Don’t be that guy.
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