Business is developmental and its growth falls on the shoulder of the business owner getting a capable advisory board to help the business grow. The advisory board can provide expertise, guidance and business-development insight. In all cases, the advisory board furnishes the entrepreneur with a group of experts who can discuss opportunities, challenges and next steps. Jesse Torres, thought leader and influencer offers these tips that could help you create an effective advisory board.
1. Have a Purpose
“Management by objective works -- if you know the objectives. Ninety percent of the time you don't.” -- Peter Drucker
An entrepreneur can use an advisory board to weather current challenges and opportunities. For example, a chef entrepreneur about to open a new restaurant may decide to form an advisory board to gain expertise in marketing, human resources and construction and design -- skills that a culinary type would not necessarily possess. In forming the advisory board, the entrepreneur should carefully consider his or her critical knowledge gaps so as to identify appropriate advisors.
2. Recruit doubters
“The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of skepticism.” -- George Jean Nathan
No entrepreneur needs yes men disguised as advisory board members. The most ideal advisors have the entrepreneur’s best interests at heart. And so they are not afraid to give advice -- even if it contradicts the thinking of the entrepreneur. Because the feedback can be brutally honest, entrepreneurs may wish to avoid picking advisors who are close friends or family members. Yet a business owner possessing strong, honest relationships with friends and family members may find such individuals can be valued advisors since they already have his or her best interest at heart and desire nothing but the venture's success -- even if this means having a disagreement.
3. Leverage the network
“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” -- Albert Schweitzer
Initially, identifying potential advisors can seem like a daunting task. The entrepreneur's best approach is to identify people within his (or her) personal or professional network with the requisite skills and experience. These individuals are familiar with the owner and likely would be willing to serve as advisors. To the extent a particular need cannot be met by someone in the entrepreneur’s network, referrals can sought. The final option is making old-fashioned cold calls.
5. Time is money
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” -- Warren Buffett
Advisory board members are not contributing their valuable time for money. They become involved as a result of their desire to help the entrepreneur -- and perhaps feel good about mentoring someone in need of their expertise. It is good form to provide some form of compensation. Depending on the venture's financial ability, compensation could include meals, travel expenses or a small stipend. Advisors who feel appreciated will put forth their best effort.
Getting an advisory board will help your business. Following these tips can create an effective board and one that will help take your business all the way.