Twenty five years ago as an eager entrepreneur, I started my first business at my kitchen table a month after being married. Besides being ill prepared in all areas of business and life, I dove head first into what I saw as a need in the High School Athlete Recruiting business way before the market became over saturated as it is today. Actually there was only one other national service at the time and it was a magazine. Our model was different as colleges hired us to evaluate talent, provide recommendations and organize "Evaluation Clinics" which today are considered combines. We were ready.
Within the first fews months of cold calling and mailing real letters to every Division one and two schools in the country, we signed up 200+ colleges for our services and despite the thrill that our instinct and timing was correct, we quickly became overwhelmed with delivering our services.
What we didn't know was how to execute on the scale we promised. It became a major challenge quickly. Looking back now, what I needed was a mentor and advisor who could sit back and look at our business from a different perspective. Someone who wasn't emotionally attached to our business but could offer sound advice in the areas that we lacked experience..which were plenty. We eventually figured how to deliver but not without lots of mistakes and losing a bunch of clients along the way. Eventually we needing to merge with a larger agency which had the resources to help but I had to give up most of my equity and become an employee. That didn't last long as they weren't as passionate about the business as we were nor did it really fit into their core business. We lost.
Today with the availability of freelance "On Demand Advisors & Mentors" the ability to source what I consider free agent mentors and senior advisors is a google search away. I only wish we had access to an experienced mentor that could assist, see our challenges before we could or help fill in the holes to our business that I was obviously missing. Who knows what would have happened?
The resources availability today are incredible to any 24 year old entrepreneurs who like us felt we had great ideas and the energy to hustle, but not the relationships or experience to execute.
Here are a few benefits to utilizing On Demand Advisors and Mentors:
Industry Experience- When your friends, family and partners are done telling you why you need to do more on social media and what a great business concept you have, the access to a senior level executive who is not financially or emotionally attached to your day to day grind, is going to be invaluable to your business growth looking from the outside in and provide guidance and open up doors based on experience and relationships.
Flexibility- Being as lean as possible with salaries and overhead especially with a start up, the On Demand model will provide your business with daily access to experienced senior level executive in your industry but also afford you the flexibility to determine the length of service without the long term financial commitments. Best of both worlds.
You certainly learn more from failures than you do from successes, and I was young and dumb enough to rebound and learn from that experience but considering the only thing I had to lose was my pride and the window view from my kitchen office.
Rob Thompson is a 25+ year entrepreneur and executive in the sports and media industry. He is a Keynote Speaker, Mentor and "On Demand" senior advisor for start up businesses. Rob shares these personal stories of influencers and trend setters in the industry. Check out the services tab above or simply email me below to ask me any question on how I can help you.
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