Just about every company we’ve come across covering Austin tech has a board of advisors. A board of advisors generally uses it’s connections to help companies get in front of investors and potential customers, advises founders on how to improve their processes, and helps CEO’s run their company.
Recruiting a board of advisors is one of the first tasks a founding team should take on. Finding the right people can make all the difference in a company’s success.
In trying to find out how advisory boards have their impact, we took a look at some of the best advice CEO’s have received. We reached out to a number of chief executives to hopefully learn a little something ourselves. Check out their responses below.
Robyn Metcalfe, founder of Food + City:
“All my problems are 90 percent mental and the other 10 percent was just in my head. A running coach told me this just before a daunting run.”
Lucas Braun, CEO of OnRamp:
“Try to work with people you like. I can’t recall who shared this bit of wisdom with me, but it really makes a difference. You’ll find that embedded in this are shared values, greater trust, and a number of other benefits that ultimately lead to living a better life.”
David Jabour, president of Twin Liqours:
“It’s what you inspect, not what you expect. I received this advice from an executive for whom I worked for when I was in the banking business.”
Chris Taylor, CEO of Square Root:
“A few years ago, I was stressed out about the 6 key roles for the company I needed to hire to get us to the next level. My brother, Rob Taylor, told me ‘You don’t need to hire 6 people, you need to find one person to take over operations and figure out who to hire.’ Next week, I promoted our VP of Analytics to COO, and have never looked back.”
Dan Graham, CEO of Buildasign.com:
“Network, network, network — Ancient Chinese Proverb”
Deb Gabor, CEO of Sol Marketing:
“The best advice I ever received was to not give or receive advice! I learned this upon becoming a member of the Austin Chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO). When you share advice with someone, and they DON’T take that advice and things go badly, you always have that between you and the sharer. When you share advice and the receiver DOES take it, and things go badly, you always have THAT between you. Either way, advice sharing creates an environment rife with risk for confusion, misinterpretation, and judgement. Instead, sharing real-life stories of actual experiences, creates a non-threatening and non-judgmental environment. Everyone can learn from stories; there is no room for misinterpretation and you create a safe environment for exploring ideas for making profound changes in your business, family, or personal life.”
Tim Hamilton, CEO of Praxent and President of Entrepreneur’s Organization Austin:
“Verne Harnish, one of the founders of the Entrepreneur’s Organization once asked me: “Are you playing to win or are you playing not to lose?” His question helped me to see that I have a tendency to play defensively once I had experienced a little success and that this tendency could be the thing that would ultimately keep me from realizing my fullest vision for my business.”
Bernard Briggs, CEO of Humm:
“Don’t niche yourself. Don’t be known for what you do or your role, be known for what you bring to the table – Chuck Maples”
Derek Hutson, CEO of Datical:
“I have to mention three pieces:
First, when I was a junior sales rep at BMC Software, I worked closely with a very experienced sales executive. His motto was, “Do it once, do it right and do it NOW.” That has been applicable in almost every aspect of my personal and professional life.
Second, earlier in my career I worked for Alex Shootman (current president of Apptio) and his cultural tenant was, “Get it done and do it right.” It’s important to remember that results and principles are both important, and not inconsistent.
Lastly, my dad emphasized setting your priority and “must do” list before the week began. Everyone should do that.”
Bill Boebel, CEO of Pingboard:
“There wasn’t one specific moment, but the thing that had the biggest impact on me was working for my dad at a young age. At age 7, I wanted to get a TV for my room. My dad owned a printing company and he told me I could stuff envelopes for 3 cents a piece to earn the $400 I needed to buy it. I took the job and eventually bought my TV. Those 13,000 envelopes are where it all began for me. I continued to work for him through high school, watched him run his business, and by the time I headed to college, I knew I wasn’t going to work for anyone else. I was going to start a company.”