Since 2016, I have been supporting a small number of founders, CEOs, and leadership teams as an advisor. Most of these leaders are building SaaS or tech-enabled services businesses. The youngest companies are pre-revenue start-ups still figuring out their product; some are $10M+ ARR companies with well-established product/market fit.
All of these relationships involve a recurring bi-monthly, monthly, or quarterly meeting during which we talk through the major issues they face. For some, I meet only with the founder or CEO. For others, I also meet with the leadership team or serve on their advisory board.
Our discussion topics range a good bit. A handful of examples: channel marketing, pricing, prospective recaps, making the first hire, articulating a clear company culture, stock options, when and how to create a leadership team, operationalizing growth, integrating an acquired business, etc, etc. My experience is deepest in vertical-specific SaaS, and as a founder and chief executive I’ve led teams as small as just me and as large as about 150.
My advisory relationships have all begun with a casual meeting in which I learn about the leader’s business and share any relevant experiences I have to offer. Following a first meeting (or sometimes a second), if it’s clear that I have something to offer the business leader, we begin an engagement, with no fee until after the third meeting. For most of my one-on-one meetings, the leader typically brings two to three topics they’re interested in discussing, and a free form conversation follows.
When there is no equity component of my compensation, I generally charge a monthly retainer that varies according to the expected meeting frequency. I don’t track my hours, some months I invest more time than others, and I regularly make myself available on an ad hoc basis.
Here are some specifics about my background and experience. I occasionally share my thoughts about a wide variety of things (mainly entrepreneurship, real estate, urbanism, tech, culture, wilderness, or education) via Twitter or my blog. Over the years, I’ve been a podcast guest a handful of times: On Doers, The Atlanta Story, Revolution of One, PowerTips Unscripted.
I am always interested in learning about people’s businesses, so reach out via geoff@[this domain] if you’d like to get together.
P.S. I’ve learned a lot over the years from a great many entrepreneurs, mentors, and business coaches. Three coaches who deserve mention (and who greatly influence how I approach advisory work) are Bob Lewis, Andy Fleming, and the late Sam H. Lane. Rarely do I have a discussion with an entrepreneur during which I don’t recall a lesson I learned from one of them.