20 Situations Company Advisors Make the Biggest Difference
In the rapid scaling of a business, there are decisive moments that determine the trajectory of your company. These key inflection points—be it clarifying your vision, scaling your team, or optimizing your financial strategy—are the crossroads where wisdom, time, and effective execution converge to create outsized impact. Missing the mark at these junctures could set you back considerably, while making the right moves can propel you toward unprecedented growth. It's at these critical phases that the counsel of an experienced advisor can serve as a game-changer.
Below are 20 scenarios where the right advisory guidance can make a monumental difference:
Forming Company Purpose / Vision / Mission
Lasting companies have purpose. Employees want to work for these companies. But sometimes a CEO needs an outside perspective to shape and communicate that vision.
Forming Values and Operationalizing Culture
Ever hear “culture eats stragtegy for breakfast”? Your culture is a sum total of the beavhiors from the CEO and loudest executives in the room. How do you act and interact? How do you respond? What do you care about? How do you hire? Putting value and culture into words – and more importantly, operationalizing this – will carry the company through all the bumps ahead.
Hiring & Comp
One of the most critical points for any company is hiring. Advisors can provide guidance on the interview process, sourcing candidates, conducting interviews, perspective on salaries and benefits, and developing onboarding processes.
Advisors can amplify your fundraising process, sourcing investors, prepping the presentation, and negotiating terms.
Performance Management & Firing
Firing is never easy, but necessary for the health of the company. Outside advice can help you see a mismatch early and reduce the impact on the remaining employees.
Vertical vs. Geo vs. Product Expansion
Companies often face the choice of how to grow, where, and when. The Ansoff matrix suggests there are old products and new products, and existing markets and new markets. Markets could be geographical or vertical. And products can be new features, pivots, or acquisitions. Advisors who have seen all axis of growth can evaluate options and determine the right priorities and sequence for your growth strategy.
Spending / Budgeting
So you got money. How is it best spent, where, when, at what rate? Advisors can provide guidance on everything from common KPI ratios, best practices, financial models, and managing cash flow.
Quarterly and Annual Planning
Planning is critical to the success of any company to set goals, identify top challenges and put forth hypothesis. Execution planning of that plan is equally important. Advisors can help companies set goals, develop strategies, and sound check the execution plan rigor.
Managing a board of directors can get tricky. Investors come from different perspectives, have different timelines, and come in a range of personalities. Advisors can provide guidance on everything from selecting board members to managing board meetings, setting agendas, and facilitating discussions to get the most out of the board.
Product inflection points are critical moments in the life of a company, and advisors can help companies navigate these moments effectively. They can provide guidance on product development, launch, and positioning strategies.
Company / Category Positioning
Advisors may see a broader market perspective and can help companies develop effective positioning strategies and identify their unique value proposition, target markets, and develop messaging that resonates with customers.. Further, the right strategist can understand how to create a category (read Play Bigger).
Sometimes highlighting a new angle, feature or benefit of your product can make all the difference. And you may be too close to your product to see that. Advisors can help companies identify the unique benefits of their products, develop messaging, and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Business Development / Partnerships
Business Development can be a time suck and have little impact unless you get the right partners, with the right incentives and the right execution plan. A mentor who has seen these things happen before will help set the strategy, identify potential partners, make intros and help solidify joint execution processes.
Choosing a vendor is like hiring an employee. Price is not all that matters in finding a supplier that can truly create impact. Advisors can help companies identify potential vendors, make introductions, evaluate their capabilities, and negotiate contracts.
Much like company and product positioning, advisors can help companies develop effective pitches that resonate with customers. They can help put you in the minds of the buyers or give perspective on what will differentiate you from competitors.
Got a problem big enough to meet up and brainstorm alternatives? An advisor can lead or participate in workshopping a solution to complex problems. OUtside perspective and pattern recognition can dramatically increase chances of finding the best solution.
Regular Motivation & Accountability
Ok, a cheat on this one. This is not an specific inflection point, but every day there are these opportunities. Opportunity to have someone suggest adding a “0” to your thinking. Or ask “what happened to that…”? Brainstorming, planning and workshopping is no use without execution. A trusted advisor can be a co-pilot pushing the executives to greater heights and connect the dots on execution. The input/output cadence is impactful, and another reason to ‘hire’ more time from them.
Crisis Management & Reputation
Crises are inevitable in business. Whether it's a public relations debacle, a critical product failure, or sudden financial turbulence, how a company manages crises can have long-term repercussions. Experienced advisors can offer strategic counsel on not just crisis containment but also on restoring and enhancing corporate reputation.
Mergers and Acquisitions
The process of merging with or acquiring another company is fraught with both opportunity and risk. It's a complex dance of valuations, negotiations, and integrations. Advisors with M&A experience can help guide through due diligence, valuation strategies, negotiation tactics, and even post-acquisition cultural assimilation. Their expertise can be invaluable in ensuring that the M&A activity adds, rather than detracts, value to the company.
Market Exit or Company Sale
Whether it’s an IPO, a direct sale, or some other form of exit, this is a critical juncture that can benefit from experienced advice. Advisors can assist in preparing the company for public scrutiny, advising on the timing, and guiding the company through the complex regulatory and procedural hurdles. This phase often needs a different skill set than the typical growth-focused mindset, and an experienced advisor can make the process smoother and more profitable.
Which one of these do you have coming up for you? All of them? Is it time to bring in an advisor, board member, coach or mentor?