Seek Advice: Grow a Business

January 21, 2021

Whether business is increasing, decreasing, or remaining stable, it can always be better. If you’re the owner, maybe you’re doing everything to your exact target market, analyzing the competition, motivating employees, evaluating decisions, or constantly reviewing vendors. There just might be one more thing that can lead to increased sales and profits.

Board of Advisors

When we think of a Board of Advisors or Board of Directors, the first thought might be that this is only for publicly traded corporations or big businesses. But, think again. An informal Board of Advisors can be an accelerant for a small business or SME and provide strengths to counteract any weaknesses that an owner might have. This can be an informal group of trusted friends or business colleagues who are willing to meet once a quarter or every six months for a couple of hours over dinner or coffee to discuss the business, throw out ideas, and give unbiased insights.

Board Advantages

With the right group committed to helping a small business succeed, there can be many advantages:

•    Strengths of individual board members can be leveraged in different areas to provide needed guidance and another point of view. For example, a six-member board might have more than 100 years of combined experience dealing with diverse business situations.

•    Board members can provide specific skills that a business owner and management team may be lacking.

•    A business owner can be challenged by a board to think clearly and objectively (so important) to avoid being overly optimistic or have tunnel vision approaches regarding the business.

•    Individual board members can often times provide creative ideas and alternative approaches for problem situations or new business opportunities.

•    Networking is valuable for any business. Board members can use their connections for possible funding sources, strategic partners, vendors, or finding subject matter experts.

•    The board can be a think tank partner for the business owner.

•    Individual board members can serve as mentors for the business owner’s personal development.

Caveat: small business owners are to a certain extent ego driven. They either started or purchased their businesses and usually run their businesses “my way.” So, a business owner must have an open mind when contemplating putting a board together. Will it be in the best interests of the business to form a board? If a business owner cannot accept constructive advice and new ideas, then there will be no positive outcomes to forming a board. On the other hand, when collective efforts of a board help the owner articulate a vision and strategic plan for the future, solid ideas and strategies can lead to increased growth and resulting higher profits.

Fill the Gaps

Board members can help fill gaps that can exist for small business owners. When board members have taken their own businesses from start-up to maturity or work in large organizations, they can bring experience and different perspectives that can provide proven, structured processes to help a small business owner avoid pitfalls that are typically encountered. The selection of the right board members can help lead a small business to additional growth and lasting success.

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