Stack Your Deck with all Aces


We talk a lot about the importance of making the right investments for your business, whether it’s creating a new position or purchasing a cool piece of technology. We also strongly believe in the idea that when it comes to your business, you should not go it alone.

A strategically-selected advisory board comprising proven-successful experts can be instrumental in taking your organization to the next level. The key word here is strategic - you want to make sure you’re pulling together the best group of people to open doors for your business and provide you sound advice. If you’re thinking about starting an advisory board, here are some points to consider:

Keep your group small, but not too small. A four- to six-person advisory board is ideal. Any less and you may not be able to solicit a wide enough range of ideas or perspectives. Any more and you risk having too many cooks in the kitchen.

The minimum checklist. You want your advisory board to have three main components: knowledge, depth of connections, and time.

Maintain diversity across all levels. Think about what you bring to the table, then look for people who can offer alternative viewpoints and/or fill in the missing pieces. You’ll want to recruit members with a range of ages, backgrounds, and dispositions. Ideally, some hail from different industries than yours—business owners face universal challenges—and those with varied backgrounds may help you overcome tunnel vision in your industry.

Be objective and look for objectivity. Try to avoid enlisting anyone who has a vested interest in you or your business. That means none of your employees, and perhaps not your banker or your lawyer. Make sure their role in your business isn’t to always tell you what you want to hear — that won’t help you.

Establish clear objectives. What is it that you are asking the advisory board to collectively help your business through?

Enable the group to achieve its ends, which will require time, effort, and intentionality. To gain the most out of this group – and move your business forward – you want to create maximum opportunity for the group members to contribute value to your business. This means keeping your advisors up-to-date with your business plans, financial reports, and any other data they may need. Additionally, be prepared to act on their guidance.

If you currently run your business with a board of directors, you may think an advisory board would be a redundancy. But here’s the critical difference: unlike a board of directors, an advisory board does not vote on corporate matters and is not legally bound to fiduciary responsibilities. Rather, it exists to help you guide your company through its next growth phase, expand your network, develop key partnerships and new business opportunities, and provide honest feedback and counsel.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to learn more about establishing an advisory board for your business. Good luck as you move forward with this important and beneficial step!

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