Hi I'm new to CoFoundersLab and in the very early stages of developing a new product concept that I would eventually like to bring to Market. I knew you could find cofounders in the networking tools but I also noticed that you could find advisors. This may be a very silly question, but I am new to this and wasn't sure what the advior's role was? I could use all the mentorship I can get, but didn't know if these were more consultants who would want payment or simply people who are offering their expertise.
There are both types of advisors. There are consultants who serve as coaches, advisors, in interim roles even as the startup CEO, or on special assignments for a company, whether a new venture or an established company.
There are also advisors who will mentor you and provide guidance at no cost. Broadly speaking, you can break these into two types. One is acting as a mentor as part of giving back what they have been given in the past by their mentors. You can never repay your mentor except by mentoring others. The other major type are those who are interested in helping you along because they have an interest in investing at the right time. If they lose interest in investment, they will most likely ease themselves out of the relationship.
However, it is not uncommon to provide equity or equity equivalents to either type of advisor.
When you are talking about mentors and coaches, it is possible to find skilled and trusted advisors in both categories. Whether there is cash payment or not is not a determiner of the quality of advice you will receive. It really depends on who you find, their interest in you as an entrepreneur, their interest and assessment of your idea, and whether the two of you click.
These are people whose advice you seek on an irregular basis to bounce ideas off of when you need an outside sounding-board. They can fill in gaps in your weaknesses or augment your strengths. They are not your Board of Directors so have no liability. Some will want cash compensation or equity as Tom has mentioned. Some are into it, also as Tom points out, to be a mentor. The key for all of them is how often you go to them and what you do with the feedback they provide. Nothing is less satisfying as being "decorative".
In no particular order ...
1. Provide mentoring on entrepreneurship, startups, etc.
2. Provide insights on key parts of the business
3. Be a sounding board
4. Open up doors and make connections