You may have a great business plan that promises lucrative returns, but unless decision-makers know and pass budgets to invest in you and your start-up, your profits will remain on paper.
Start-up entrepreneurs need executive sponsors for the same reasons employees climbing the career ladder do; they need someone who has access to decision-makers who know them, their character, and competence well, and would be willing to stick their necks out to pound the table on their behalf.
So, how do you go about securing an executive sponsor?
1. Deliver Excellence
No one wants to risk their reputation for a mediocre performer. Make sure you have a track record of delivering excellence, whether through your start-up, or your career before it.
2. Identify a Sponsor
Think of the decision-makers you want to access and identify the senior-level executive that has access to and influence over them that you would like to connect with.
3. Prove Your Value
Get the attention of the sponsor through your engagement and performance so they are familiar with you, your work, and the value you could bring.
4. Prepare & Make Your Ask
Think of what the sponsor will need to make a decision in your favor, remove barriers to their "Yes", and make a direct, specific, and strategic ask of them to introduce and promote you and your work to potential decision-makers.
Want to learn more about engaging an executive sponsor?
Watch these videos for detailed guidance on how to engage an executive sponsor.