I have a relatively new software startup that is pre-launch. I'm starting to get into a lot of issues/areas/whatever that are outside my realm of expertise. I've been thinking about trying to setup a board of advisors to help out with this. I already have a few people that I bounce Ideas off of that sort of play that role, but I was thinking of somewhat formalizing the board of advisor concept. I have a couple questions for people on this:
A board of advisors is really useful if:
In this interview, Peldi from Balsamiq Studios explains how he built his board and what exactly it did (and didn't) do for him.
There's a pretty simple litmus test I use for advisory board members: would I be worse off without their advice?
That may sound ridiculously simple, but really ask yourself if your advisors are going to help you come up with solutions to the really big startup problems, like overcoming extreme technical hurdles, finding investors and helping to mentor you as a leader. Any member of a startup team, be it employee, investor or advisor, must provide strategic value. If they don't, then don't bring them on board.
To answer your specific questions:
Not specific to the formation of a board, but this did help me with information about what they might expect.
Top 20 Tips for Emerging Company Board Meetings
(See responses to a similar question.)
Disclaimer: helping companies arrange boards of advisors is part of what I do for a living, so if this response appears at any time to be self-serving, I apologize.
I hope this helped. Good luck!
Frankly, I think there is tremendous value in a startups board of advisors. You need experienced input, evangelists, introductions, and support.
Nothing to formalize, this isn't your board; these are relevant individuals willing to put their name beside yours in support of what you're doing.
How to get started? Network and just ask for support.