Tips for Working with the MERL or any Adviser

Successful entrepreneurs quickly realize that they do not possess all of the skills and experience required to grow their company, but rather need access to additional expertise. Without a full management team in place, these entrepreneurs look to a diverse team of advisers to help them through the formative stages of their company.  To ensure the relationship between the adviser and the entrepreneur is productive and long lasting, it is important that each party has a clear set of expectations.

Read on to access TEDCO’s tips for working with advisers to make the most of the relationships entrepreneurs develop with their advisers.

1.            Respect your adviser’s timeAdvisers are often individuals with a significant amount of experience in their field. Their time is valuable, so make sure your meeting is productive and be considerate of the amount of time that you request. Show up on time, be well-prepared and focus on the issues on which you would like advice.

2.            Remember that advisers are not business partners.  Advisers advise; you should not expect them to roll-up their sleeves to help you write a business plan or review a 25-page proposal. They may offer to do some work above and beyond an advisory capacity, but it is best to let them offer this rather than requesting it.

3.            Rely on advisers’ expertise to refine your value proposition.  Do not expect MERL members or other business advisers to provide you with a list of investors; rather, they can help your company develop its value proposition.

4.            See how the relationship develops before asking advisers to join your company. Asking someone to join your team is a decision that should not be made lightly.  It is best to work with someone for a while to determine if they would be a good fit for your company before asking them to join your team.