Select A Board - Help Grow A Business
December 14, 2017
Business might be good but, of course, it can always be better. Everything seems to be in place for the business to grow - - marketing, products, customer service, processes, etc., however, the business seems to have just plateaued. The business owner has drained all of his or her mental resources for ideas to energize the company but nothing seems to work. Is this the end of the road?
Board of Advisors
Maybe, it is time to consider a board of advisors. These individuals do not have to be paid or be stockholders/owners. They can be volunteer board members who are non-competing business colleagues or highly respected acquaintances of the business owner. They might even have taken their own start-up businesses all the way to maturity and sale. An advisory board can be a great idea booster for a business owner...and with no commitments and no intimidation. A business owner putting together an advisory board is simply seeking true input and ideas from respected individuals not directly involved in the business. A committed board can be an accelerant for a business and provide strengths and ideas to compliment an owner and help with any apparent weaknesses.
Consider some of these advantages for a board of advisors:
- Leverage the individual strengths of board members to provide additional guidance for an owner. A board can supplement the business owner's current paid business advisors. Think of the combined experience, for example, that a six-member board would have dealing with a diversity of business situations and experiences.
- Individual advisory board members can provide specific skills that a business owner might not have. Consider this when deciding who will be asked to serve on the board.
- Business owners by nature are optimistic. Sometimes, this is good; other times it can be a detriment to clear thinking and prudent decision-making. A devoted board trying to help a business owner succeed can challenge an owner's decision to think clearly and objectively to avoid overly optimistic or “tunnel vision” approaches regarding the business.
- Creative ideas and alternative approaches to solve business problems or explore untapped market opportunities can be generated with a dynamic board whose purpose is nothing more than to assist the business owner.
- Never underestimate the power of networking for any business. Word of mouth and board member connections are great for who board members might know when the business owner is looking for possible funding sources, strategic partners, vendors, or possibly subject matter experts.
Keep An Open Mind
At times, it is difficult for a small business owner who has always done things "my way" to take advice from someone else...especially from someone who has no financial interest in his or her business. So, before deciding that a board of advisors would be good for the business, an owner must have an open mind in accepting constructive advice and new ideas; otherwise, there will be no reason to form a board and, certainly, there will be no constructive outcome.
Mentoring Is Valuable
An advisory board can be a “think tank partner” for a business owner willing to accept advice from the collective efforts of the board. Even as unpaid advisors, the right board members can help the owner articulate a vision and strategic plan for the future, solid ideas, and strategies that can lead to increased growth. A wise business owner can use board members as mentors to avoid the many pitfalls awaiting a small business owner.
Association of Accredited Small Business Consultants