ADVISING

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Start with our Advising Intake

Alphaworks advising  equips founders to build businesses at the intersection of financial sustainability, social good, and faith impact. Our focus is holistic, comprising of entrepreneurial gifting, founder readiness, and business skills. We guide founders through the various stages of venture development.

Our process begins with our Advising Intake form. Once we identify your "Founder Stage," we engage in a comprehensive advising relationships within the context of your specific situation, so that you are set up for success.

1.

The Pre-Founder

In this stage, together we will discover your entrepreneurial gifting and readiness through a series of self-directed, guided exercises. The end result of this stage will be a discovery to pursue entrepreneurship, to pursue entrepreneurship with conditions, or to pursue other vocations. 

Topics covered in this stage may include:

  • Tools for evaluating and maintaining momentum spiritually, professionally, emotionally, and other arenas of life

  • An evaluation matrix to determine and guide your success in any activity or life goal

  • A self-discovery exercise that positions you among the factors most common in successful entrepreneurs

  • Theological foundations of work and entrepreneurship

2.

The Problem

The foundational error of entrepreneurship is, "a solution in search of a problem." In this stage, we start your journey at the proper beginning: the problem you are trying to solve.  We guide you in customer discovery interviews, market exploration, and the development of a problem-solution sets, which may or may not become successful businesses. We also discuss some important theological principles to guide you into healthy entrepreneurship.

 

Topics covered in this stage may include:

  • A tool for quickly mapping out problem-solution sets

  • Guiding and encouraging you to complete customer discovery interviews

  • The principles of mastery, ekklesia, and the iterative process as principles undergirding healthy entrepreneurship

Ready to begin?

Start with our Advising Intake

3.

The Market

In this stage, we begin to hone your problem-solution set to a specific product and market. Together, we answer the question, "Do I have a specific customer who will pay for my solution to their problem?" Without that, there is no sustainable enterprise! 

 

Topics covered in this stage may include:

  • A tool for evaluating product-market fit

  • Customer segmentation

  • Market valigation

  • A theological introduction to the pneumatological basis of vocation

  • A focus on your physical and mental health

4.

The Revenue Model

In this stage, we answer the question, "Do I have a product that I can sell to a specific customer at a price above what it costs me?" In other words, "can this business actually make a profit?" Get ready to learn how to do spreadsheets and A/B price testing!

 

Topics covered in this stage may include:

  • Creating assumptions

  • Discovering and testing pricing

  • Evaluating costs to develop a prototype

  • Building  the initial revenue and cost models

  • Basics of finance, accounting, and legal

5.

Ready to begin?

Start with our Advising Intake

FAQ

The Investable Business

In this stage, most founders need some type of investment to begin building out a prototype of their product. Together, we work toward a successful "the pitch deck," a presentation which walks potential investors through your idea. At this point, most of our investors will want to know how your personal story intersects with your enterprise. 

 

Topics covered in this stage may include:

  • Examples of successful pitch decks

  • Development a successful pitch deck

  • Communicating your story and context

  • Presentation skills

  • Investor readiness and communication/negotiation skills

What is "advising?" Is it different than "consulting?"

Alphaworks provides start-up advising services, in contrast to consulting services. Engaging us in our advising services also gives you access to our network of experts, mentors, and investors. Our primary goal is to develop and equip you to achieve your goals. Our experience is that a trusted advisor  provides three main benefits over consulting. 

First, the goal of an advisor is that the client receives a knowledge and experience transfer, rather than remaining dependent upon the expertise of a consultant. Our experience proves that founders need to gain the knowledge and experiences themselves, in order that they can fully understand and communicate to investors, customers, and employees the nature of the business they are starting. In a consultant model, the founder remains dependent on the consultant. 

Second, the cost of advising services is, on the whole, much less than the cost of consulting services. For example, instead of paying 10 hours of a consultant to produce work product, cash-conscious founders produce work product themselves, under the guidance of an advisor.

 

Finally, the goal of an advisor is more consistent with the holistic nature of entrepreneurship. An advisor is interested not merely in a specific work product, as is typical of a consultant, but an advisor is interested also in the founder’s health and clarity of personal vision. Our experience shows that entrepreneurship is a particularly rigorous activity professionally, but also psychologically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. An advisor helps founders navigate these arenas.
 

Is advising right for me?

Start-up advising is right for founders who are:

 

  • Cash-conscious

  • Desiring guidance and a learning environment

  • Willing to do the work at their own pace

  • Operating the business themselves at first

  • Needing connections and resources

  • Looking at a minimum 3 month time horizon

 Start-up consulting is right for founders who are:

  • Not cash-conscious

  • Wanting a quick turnaround on a specific work product

  • Handing their business to an operator

  • Deeply connected and networked in the field of their start-u

  • Looking at a short time horizon

Do you help with raising money?

Yes. In fact, most of our founders are looking for some sort of funding.

Our advising process helps you answer "yes" to the following two questions:

  1. Do I even need to raise money for my business? The goal of a business is not to raise investment capital! Why give away equity in your start-up if you don’t have to? Raising capital is only a means to a greater end, and is not appropriate for every founder.

  2. If I do need to raise money, is my business investable? Being investable is a function of many variables – such as the investment thesis of a particular investor, the investment vehicle, the terms, overall market conditions, the founding team, the product, the market, the revenue model, the quality of the pitch deck and presentation, etc. 

Once your company passes our own internal evaluation for being investable, for select companies, Alphaworks offers funding services to help you connect with appropriate investors, tailor your pitch for maximum success, and manage the deal to completion. 

How much does advising cost?

Our advising services are typically billed at an hourly rate. In some situations, we will ask that you prepay a portion of hours to secure our availability. Because every founder’s needs are not only going to be different, but also typically discovered after beginning of the relationship, our advisors do not work on a flat-fee basis. However, we will work with your desired pace, provide clear invoices, keep you up to date on budget, and offer estimates based on our experience. At all times, you remain in control of your total expenses and the rate at which you incur those expenses.
 

I can't afford an advisor. Do you offer advising for free?

Yes. We make sure that at least 30% of each of our advisor's hours is offered for free to marginalized populations engaging in enterprises we believe in. For the remaining 70%, we understand that cash is often the #1 limitation for start-ups and founders alike. Therefore, we offer two options for cash-starved clients. First, we will always pace our services according to your budget. Instead of thinking about total spend, we encourage our clients to think of rate of spend. How much each month can you invest in your personal and professional growth? Second, we sometimes offer creative finance arrangements, and will sometimes work for convertible debt, equity, and/or royalties.  Our goal is that cost is never a barrier to our services.
 

Do you offer advisors to more established enterprises?

Yes! Not only do we offer services in many areas of business operations, but we also have a network of preferred vendors in many specialized areas. Get In Touch for additional topics we can cover!
 

Ready to begin?

Start with our Advising Intake