Posts Tagged ‘set goals and expectations’

Advisory Boards – 4 Tips For Success

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

As the business owner, who can you turn to for advice?4 tips to help set up Advisory Boards successfully

It can’t be someone who works for you. Your spouse or other family members may not be willing, or able, to help.

It could be a peer – but they may have challenges of their own. And who wants to hire a consultant?

So, what’s left?

There is one resource I haven’t mentioned. It’s commonly linked with start-ups, but I find it can be very useful when companies plateau.

It’s an Advisory Board.

Unlike Boards of Directors, Advisory Boards aren’t for life. You can keep them running for as long as you want – or need.

Here are some tips for setting one up.

1.  Membership. Based on our experience helping set up Advisory Boards, I’d suggest recruiting no more than 5 or 6 members.

Find people who complement your skills and experience. Invite someone who has already grown her or his business to the size you’re aiming for. Consider also asking your accountant; someone (e.g. from an industry association) who knows your markets; a supplier of non-competitive products to your customers; and even your banker.

Make a list, identify the person the others will want to work with and approach him or her first.

2.  Compensation. You may be surprised to find that most people are flattered to be asked to join an Advisory Board.

That doesn’t mean you should expect them to do it for free. But you don’t have to offer excessive compensation either.

Remember they will incur costs to get to meetings and they will be giving up another activity to be there. Recognize that by offering them a couple of hundred dollars and a decent breakfast, lunch or dinner at each meeting.

3.  Set goals and expectations. Meet once a quarter, for no more than 2 or 3 hours. Explain that you may also want to talk to them individually between meetings if an issue arises specific to their expertise.

Publish the agenda and circulate any reading materials the week before the meeting. Appoint someone who is good at keeping meetings on track and on time to run them. Once a year, ask the members what they think of the meetings and make changes based on that input.

Make it clear that you want them to provide valuable advice but that you’ll make the final decisions. They hold no legal or financial responsibility for those decisions.

4.  Build (or strengthen) your relationships with board members. If you’ve chosen well, your members can connect you to people in their networks (including potential customers).

But they can also introduce to, for example, new software or technologies and make you aware of grants or programs that provide funding.

You can read more about Advisory Boards here and here. Ignore the references to start-ups; it’s good advice for everyone!


If you enjoyed this post you’ll also enjoy I’m Not Alone…….

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