1. Make sure you are ready for an advisor
One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is figuring out how to get others excited about your business and your ideas. It can be hard to define your unique value proposition, but getting enthusiasm and buy-in from others is crucial for the success of your business.
The most important step to being part of the HPE Advising Community is getting yourself prepared for the advising relationship. In order to establish, develop, and maintain your relationship, you will need to:
- carve out the necessary time in your schedule to meet regularly with an Advisor,
- be responsive to messages,
- pull together any necessary background materials,
- have a good idea of the type of expertise you are seeking or the business challenge you are facing, and
- share feedback with your Advisor on any outcomes as a result of their guidance or support.
It’s also critical for your first meeting with your advisor. You want your new advisor to be as excited about your business as you are and confident in its potential for success.
Here are some tips for preparing your business pitch and value proposition to ensure a successful first meeting.
1) Create a simple explanation of your business.
Come up with a succinct way to express what you do. This will help your advisor grasp your business quickly.
What industry is your business in?
- What products and services do you offer?
- What are the applications for your products and services?
What are the benefits to your customers/clients?
2) Assert your vision.
Next, prepare a statement about where you’d like your business to go from here.
- What are your long-term goals?
- What is the ideal response you’d like to gain from your customers and industry?
- What do you personally want to achieve through your business (e.g., positioning yourself as thought leader, achieving better work/life balance, etc.)?
3) Determine your mission.
A good mission statement defines your business’s reason to be. To shape yours, consider the following questions:
- Why do you care about the work that you do?
- How do you think you can change your industry?
- How can you help improve your customers’ or clients’ lives?
- What makes the work you do meaningful?
4) Figure out your target audience.
Narrow down whom you want your business to attract by preparing answers to the following questions:
- Whom does your business cater to?
- Who is your ideal client or customer?
- What factors do they consider when making a decision about potentially purchasing your products or services?
5) Size up the competition and determine your key differentiators.
It’s important to have an understanding of your place within your industry. Often, by researching your competitors, you can quickly discover what makes you different and find your niche within the market. These questions are a great starting point:
- Who are your competitors and what are their product or service offerings?
- What makes your business different from your competition?
- Do you have a unique product or service offering, business process, or set of values?
- How do you do business differently?
- Another easy way to formulate your business pitch is by using a business-planning app. Many of them offer step-by-step guidance and organize all of the relevant information in one central place.
Entering your first conversation with the right information in hand helps demonstrate your competence and ambition—both of which will help your advisor feel more confident in the viability of your business and their ability to help you achieve your goals.
Next: Clarify Your Goals