How does an entrepreneur manage relationships with investors and advisors? This is a complex subject. Oftentimes when things go well, it is because everyone - entrepreneurs, employees, advisors and investors - have the same interests.
The benefit of things going well for investors is a "no surprises" willingness to step back up with future rounds or rolodex assistance without having to recover from the shock of sudden, usually negative, news.
Employee alignment not only reduces turnover, but it also increases productivity. It's axiomatic how much more people contribute when acknowledged and given important work to do.
Directors and advisors can't be very helpful without detailed knowledge of plan vs. result, major developments, and so forth.
Presuming that all parties want the company to grow and proceed along the path described in the original deal, attentive management of interests falls to the entrepreneur/CEO to lead.
So how does the entrepreneur do this?
1. Keep people informed. While this is especially true of investors not involved day to day, it also extends to advisors, directors and employees. It's especially important to establish metrics and then use them to continually report on progress.
2. Confront shortfalls and misses aggressively with plans and tests to recover. Share these broadly.
3. Make sure that investors know the "news" good and bad -- before they read it in the press.
2. Abide by decisions made at board meetings; if you must change, consult first.
3. Recognize important contributions publicly.
4. Teach improvement lessons in private.
5. Ask advisors for private feedback on your performance - not necessarily on strategies and plans, but rather on where you can learn and improve.
6. Be close to your customer so that you can credibly represent an objective point of view.
7. Resist the urge to decide instinctively without making your supporting facts obvious. You'll be right 99% of the time but people won't be able to follow your decision making logic and it'll look random to them. When faced with an authority that acts randomly, people get cautious and twitchy - exactly the opposite of what you want. So, explain, explain and then communicate some more.
8. Don't use technical drafting oversights to gain an advantage with others invested in your deal. The best deals, as I've said before, are the ones where the structure of the deal doesn't motivate anyone to do what is not in everyone's best interests.