Being an entrepreneur is overwhelming. The body of knowledge you’re missing is vast. You can’t ever make up for all of it, so you figure it out as you go. You make mistakes and try to correct quickly. Advisors are an amazing way to close that gap with people who have experiential knowledge. A year ago we launched FD:Advisors and it’s become the largest curated network of advisors for startups. We’ve been watching what the most popular “gap areas” are. That is, what are the most popular areas that entrepreneurs are seeking advisors?
Marketing, Sales, Marketing
Probably the most surprising results on this list is that only 2 of the 15 are technical topics. It’s true that a technical advisor is in the top 5 and I’m the first to agree it’s not only important, but can be insanely helpful. That said, the majority of the areas are in marketing and sales – from growth/growth hacking to content marketing to enterprise sales. What does this mean? Well, it could be that entrepreneurs are realizing how hard it is to get real traction, reach your customers and keep them. Good technology is only great if people are using it. Certainly, it’s easier to carve up sales, marketing and BD into more topics than ‘technical advisor’ but I don’t think that’s the only cause.
There are a few advisor areas that didn’t quite make the top 15 but are growing in popularity and worth a mention:
It’s true, this categorization is stage agnostic and mostly for tech-related entrepreneurs. All of that taken into consideration, it’s important to think about the full-gamut of skills you need on a team. As awesome as advisors can be, they’ll never replace a member of your team.