To start a business? Reasons why you may need to hire an advisory board

You know everything? Do you know everyone? Do you have strengths and weaknesses? I assume your answers to these three questions are “No, no, and well, yes”, given in the order of the questions, as they were asked. If you’re contemplating starting a business, happily beginning your journey to what you hope will be entrepreneurial success, you may need to reconsider your own human limitations. You may want to seriously consider hiring an advisory board.

Who should become a member of your advisory board?

That’s a hard and easy question. The tricky part is that you probably already have members on your advisory board, but neither you nor they may be aware of your membership. Important people, parents, friends, and other people in your life tend to give you advice, sometimes whether you want it or not. Are these people good advisory board members for your business? Maybe! Maybe not.

Suppose we take the example of a spouse or a loved one. Talking about business too often can wear on your relationship. If your relationship starts to suffer because you can’t leave your job at work and spend time on the personal part of your relationship, maybe you should set some boundaries and leave your fighting, aches, headaches, and complaining at work. If you are enjoying success: share it. If you work at home, leave all that other negative stuff in your home office. Adopt an attitude similar to that of insurance companies who suggest: “I don’t want to be a burden on my family.”

As far as possible, you should leave the office burden behind you and take proper care of yourself, by the way. Turn off your cell phone, leave your laptop screen down, close the office door behind you on your way out, and clear your mind once in a while.

Some personal relationships are strengthened by a large amount of togetherness. If that’s the way yours works, and you rely on the “instincts”, insight and skills of someone close to you (regarding the direction of your business), then by all means consider adding to this person to your advisory board. However, you may want to have a clearly established set of protocols to ensure this arrangement works. While not quite the same thing, it should serve as a warning to anyone that it’s not unusual for friendships and other close relationships to turn into business partnerships, only to fall apart.

In summarizing the above, certain things should have become obvious: it is necessary to establish criteria for the selection and retention of advisory board members. In particular, at the individual level, one must have skills, knowledge, and insights that serve to strengthen you, the counselee. The relationship should produce objective advice, which you may or may not adopt, with no hard feelings from anyone.

You also need to take a holistic view of the composition of the entire board: there must be balance. I especially like to mention that there is also a place for non-experts in a board. Some of the best insights of all come from people innocently asking what “experts” might consider naive questions. “Why, do you do it this way?” Every once in a while, that person who doesn’t know any better may ask a question that stumps the experts, or causes them to give a very poor answer in an age of rapid change we now face. That poor response is usually something like: “Because that’s how we’ve always done it.” (Baaawoooonk: game show loser. Wrong answer.)

Recruitment strategies that work.

Have you ever heard of the WIFM proposal? “What’s in there for me?” That’s the question you should be prepared to answer as you craft your message to potential advisory members and determine who those members might be. The question I would ask is this: “Who could benefit from being on my board, while helping me?” Take the example of a website or other marketing communications materials: it would be nice if you gave your advisory board member some public recognition in your outbound messages, so that they build visibility and benefit that person’s own efforts. Yes, it’s an eye for an eye. Be considerate of the other person’s needs and interests!

Don’t forget to share. Remember that from kindergarten? You have to be prepared to give as well as to receive. Don’t ask people to be on your advisory board if you’re too apathetic or too busy to spend a little time helping others. Don’t be one-sided in your dealings with other people. Also, it doesn’t have to be the same small group of people. In other words, if you were kind enough to sit in on a few meetings and lend your skills and knowledge, the adage, “What goes around comes around” probably applies to you. It may be a different group of people, other than those you’ve met through the boards you sit on, who sit on your own advisory board. That’s okay, just think of the expanded network you’ll have.

Advisory Council Logistics

Don’t be a burden to your board. Too many meetings become very unproductive. Too much communication becomes an imposition. Keep advisory board duties streamlined, simple and convenient; Meetings should be limited in frequency and duration, mutually beneficial and enjoyable, while at the same time addressing the basics of the advisory tasks at hand. If you have the budget, you may want to consider an annual meeting in a nice setting. If you can’t afford it, is it because you were so busy getting started that you didn’t anticipate the need for such a meeting or meetings? That’s called thinking small. Think big.

Stay connected and competent

If you don’t provide for your own care and development, and that of your company, it probably won’t happen at all. Other than that, I find that many business plans often fail to address professional development and the entrepreneur’s need to stay current and informed. If you haven’t factored in your own industry’s number one and number two annual conferences, a few seminars and continuing education, a few workshops, and a lot of books and periodicals, you’re cheating your company out of what should be one of its core assets. : your competence and connectivity as a leader.

Simply put, you need to stay connected and informed to be effective. An advisory board is a great way to address many aspects of this requirement. You must supplement and compensate for your human weaknesses and limitations with the help of others and make sure you reciprocate.

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