Advisory Boards are becoming more popular in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Why? Today’s business environment is getting more and more competitive and challenging and having an effective Advisory Board can be a crucial factor of your organisation’s continuing success. If the time is taken to ‘do it right’, an Advisory Board can be one of the best added-value investments you will ever make.
Here are 9 reasons why you may want to form an Advisory Board:
- An independent sounding board – It can be difficult to discuss new ideas with an existing in-house team. An Advisory Board may have experience in the areas you want to sound out and you can remove internal politics. They may also provide a resolution mechanism for dealing with family issues.
- Business strategy planning – An Advisory Board can help you to consider the bigger picture.
- Viable growth plans – Planning for growth may need a different skill set than you currently have in-house and you may benefit from independent and truthful feedback on your plans. You can also bring in short term expertise from someone who has “been there, done that”
- Succession / exit planning – Succession planning raises many issues – not all of them pleasant. An Advisory Board will help you decide on what skills are needed and help source suitable contacts through their networks.
- Hear the truth- even if it is hard to hear! – Advisory Boards are independent and will provide the truth as they see it. You may and should get some tough questions!
- Support from others who understand what it takes to be successful – Its lonely at the top and having the support of an Advisory Board can help to develop your own confidence and make you more aware and better equipped to deal with potential issues.
- Access to key skills – An Advisory Board is an ideal way to bring in additional skills, knowledge and experience for short or longer terms, depending on your business needs. Typically, business owners seek experts in finance, technology, sales and marketing and operations. If you are expanding into new markets, you may want to include industry experts. They should be good problem-solvers, communicators and be well connected with networks that might be leveraged to assist you.
- Major business changes – You may find making planned changes more difficult than you thought, or need help before you start. An Advisory Board can help you implement changes and evaluate the results, and based on that, prepare for any further change if required.
- You keep control – And allow access to advisors who might otherwise be reluctant or unable to join a Statutory Board.
An Advisory Board can provide advice on everything business and typically meet once every one to three months. For SME’s they are particularly useful when going through growth or navigating unfamiliar waters. But the business owner still retains complete control of the company and its decision making.
Warwick Russell sits on a number of Advisory Boards for privately owned businesses including retail, manufacturing, distribution businesses and IT.