Get More Done and be more Accountable with Your Advisory Board
A lot of the people I talk to who are developing an app using Bubble are “solopreneurs” meaning it’s just them. And that’s fine since they’re at the beginning of their startup journey. Over time as they grow they’ll start hiring people to delegate tasks. But until then, they’re on their own. That can get tough, especially when you’re working a full-time job and creating your app during nights and weekends.
Since creating an app and starting (and growing) a business will consume a lot of your time (it’s a marathon, not a sprint), the never-ending amount of things you need to do can start to wear you down. And then your task list of things to complete start to take longer and due-dates slip by. You then start beating yourself up because things are not going as fast as you’d expected. It’s the beginning of a bad spiral downward.
To help keep you out of this downward spiral and your development schedule on track, create an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will be your “support team” to reach out and talk thru issues or challenges. They will also help keep you accountable but more on that in a bit. Your Advisory Board should include 2-3 people who have experience in running a business, have experience with creating/delivering software products and/or have sales experience. Chances are you know a couple of people with these backgrounds. Reach out to them, tell them about your business and see if they’d be willing to be an Advisor to you. Chances are they’ll be willing to help provide guidance and context or perspective to you on your journey.
Creating an Advisory Board
A few things to consider with setting up an Advisory Board. First, since you’re early in the lifecycle of your business, ie still working on your Minimum Viable Product, creating an Advisory Board doesn’t need to be a formal business agreement between you (or your company) and the Advisor(s). Keep the relationship somewhat casual – not too “structured” and “corporate”.
Secondly, your Advisor(s) could be one of your friends or even a relative. Don’t feel like you need to recruit a high-powered industry guru (but if you have a good relationship with one, they’re great to have). But whoever it is, make sure you have good “chemistry” and the relationship is focused on professional growth.
Third, setup expectations with your Advisor(s), ie how often do you meet them face-to-face, are phone calls or emails good enough, etc. Since they’re most likely helping you out for free, be considerate of their time.
Fourth, since they are helping you for free, remember to thank them (often). And figure out if there’s a way you can help them. While they’re “payment” is most likely watching you grow and become successful, you want to see if you can reciprocate.
While having an Advisory Board is a great resource in which to bounce ideas off of and get feedback, there’s probably an equally important reason – accountability.
Your Accountability Tool – The Monthly “State of the Business” Update
Here’s a powerful tool for you use which will help keep you motivated. It’s the monthly “State of the Business” update that you’ll send out to your Advisors every month. Basically it’s a short (two paragraphs, 2-3 sentences each) email in which you’ll provide two things:
- What will you accomplish in the next month (first paragraph)?
- What did you accomplish in the past month (second paragraph)?
This is a way for you to not only plan ahead for the next month but it will also force you to look back at the past month and see how well you’re getting things done. And by sending it to your Advisors, you’re holding yourself accountable for getting things done. While creating and sending this out can be uncomfortable at first, providing a monthly State of the Business update will help you become more disciplined and focused. It will also give your Advisors a quick pulse on how things are going. Remember to keep it short. You don’t need to focus on the nitty-gritty tasks. Focus on the big things that will move your business forward. You’re Advisors are smart people. If they have questions or need clarifications, they’ll reach out to you.
As an added Bonus, try to quantify your monthly goals. For instance, don’t just say you want to talk with a few prospects. Write down that you want to meet with 5 prospects every week for the upcoming month. Or you want to complete the design of the messaging feature and also implement the API to the XYZ service, including having 5 people test it out in the next month. Being able to quantity goals is a super powerful way for you to be fully transparent on making forward progress.
Get Started Today
Go out and start recruiting your Advisors today. Even if it takes you a few weeks or a month to get an Advisor or two, create your first monthly “State of the Business” Update today. Then create a monthly calendar reminder to send updates. Refer back to your current State of the Business Update as often as you need to keep yourself on track. After a few months I think you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you’ll be.