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Look for Advisors Who Can Teach, Not Tell

Your startup’s advisors should guide you through challenges, not solve them for you, says this investor. 

By Hunter Walk (Partner, Homebrew)

Earlier this week, a newly funded founder and I were discussing advisory board strategies. Specifically the value of individuals with specific operational expertise (as opposed to industry domain expertise/relationships). One of the characteristics we identified as a filter was to seek advisors who could “teach, not just tell.”

The founder wants to fill in around his expertise with advisors who can help guide him and his team in areas such as distribution. Teaching, not telling means people who can share frameworks, formulas and programs that can be modified and reused. It means having an advisor sit down with a team member and perhaps provide training wheels through a real world scenario. It doesn’t mean having the advisor become part of your org chart or solve your problems for you. If you want that, create a separate consulting agreement.

By teaching, advisors create lasting impact extending beyond any limited-period direct involvement. They uplevel you and your team. This is one reason in building Homebrew’s entrepreneur advisory board we’ve focused on cultural fit and subject expertise. I’ve watched Andy Johns, growth guru of Facebook/Twitter/Quora, teach his framework, not just tell stories about his past successes. That’s real value.

This post originally appeared on Hunter Walk’s personal blog

Are you advisors not just helping you build a better business but also become a better entrepreneur?

hunterAbout the blogger: Hunter Walk is a partner @Homebrew, a seed stage venture fund serving founders who enable individuals and small biz to think big. Previously he led consumer product management at YouTube and is a founding member of the product and marketing team at Linden Lab.