Your Virtual Advisory Board
Every leader needs someone to talk to. As a leader, you come across hundreds of situations a month. You can’t be an expert in every situation but you now can have access to an expert for any situation.
For most business owner’s the thought of an Advisory Board will typically elicit a range of reactions:
- A feeling of relief that you finally have a group of individuals to talk to about your business including the most confidential areas of it.
- An immediate tightening in the chest with the thought of “I don’t need anyone telling me how to run my business.”
- An overwhelming feeling of where to begin and can you find anyone good enough or just perfect to actually be your “advisor”.
Bottom line – It’s lonely at the top. As an owner, you need outside perspective/expertise. However, for many, the thought of an Advisory Board can send you into a tail spin. In reality, an Advisory Board is not much more than your own virtual Advisory Board.
Why put together an advisory board for your business?
Expertise – Regardless of the size of your company, it is impossible to have an expert in every area. This is increasingly a challenge as we see a surge in companies pivoting their business model, competing in new marketplaces (products & geography) and expanding into areas with little or no previous experience. They have a core competency and want to leverage it in new ways. An advisory board provides that needed expertise and experience to help answer all of the unknowns and avoid costly learning curves. Haven’t you always wished there was a Waze app for your business identifying the short cuts and speed traps…
Perspective – Simply put, you are too close to it. Particularly if you are an owner and were the one with the original idea who started the company. No one knows your company better and likely your industry than you do; however this also causes myopathy many times and it is difficult to step back and look at it from an outside perspective. An advisory board can look at your company, industry, situation and potential opportunities independently and through a variety of lenses they bring from other companies, other industries and numerous experiences they have had.
Minimize Personal Agendas – When leading a company, it is sometimes challenging to know if the information or advice you are being given is in any way skewed with personal agendas. An advisory board provides again, independent advice and opinions with few or no personal agendas that you might otherwise get from a member of your management or executive team.
Connections – Sometimes it is about who you know. Advisors provide a great opportunity to expand your network and ability to leverage those within the group.
Setting up your virtual Advisory Board
First, remove all of the pressure, commitment, and structure most see as part of establishing a Board. Keep your advisory board a little more informal, flexible and relevant. The relevance of the experience can be as specific as providing feedback on your strategic planning or helping to ensure you achieve your strategic goals for the year. Your agreements can be as simple as an hourly fee or monthly retainer. Be clear on what expertise you need, what does the background of the individual look like, etc. Start with answering the following:
- How many experts do you think you will need?
- What expertise/experience should each have?
- What is the initial time commitment?
- What type of compensation can you offer?
Where to find your Advisory Board
Once you have a good idea of the variety of expertise you are looking for, start with your network. Personal referrals from people you know can be a great source. Just stay true to your list and the expertise you need. Be cautious of considering someone just because you received a glowing referral of how the individual helped save their company. Expertise is only applicable to select situations and circumstances and cannot always be applied across the board. Of course, there’s always Cerius. We have an extensive network of experts in a variety of industries and backgrounds.
Stop thinking you need to figure it out on your own and be the expert in everything. Get the expertise that can make a big impact to either the future of your company or just what you want to accomplish this year. An Advisory Board gives you a broad range of perspectives and expertise in a flexible format to ‘plug and play’ as needed based on where your business is at and where you want to go next. Think of how much more effective and productive you can be when you are able to focus on what you do best, knowing you have a team of experts as part of your own personal advisory board.
Finding an advisor has never been easier or more reliable. Visit Cerius Advisors to learn how. Avoid painful lessons learned. Talk to someone who has already been down the road before you.