Your friends, family, and possibly peers or coworkers are a sounding board when you have important decisions to make. They are your people — they’re the ones who give you an outside perspective.
A board of advisors is the same thing for a business or organization. Simply put, an advisory board is an informal group of professionals who help you run your business better.
The Importance of a Board
Just as you want wisdom and counsel for important decisions in your life, you also need different personalities and experiences to help with business decisions.
The more people looking out for the business, speaking into dreams, goals, and plans, the better the outcome for your startup. They offer a fresh and, oftentimes, more experienced perspective.
These voices can help you avoid launching mistakes others have already made. Avoiding unnecessary mistakes can save you time, energy, and money.
Don’t Go at it Alone
Entrepreneurship can be frightening and isolating, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to do it by yourself. Let your team of people help.
Here are a few tips for building your crew:
Who you want:
Think of every business unit you will need to successfully run a company. Many times, it’s made up of people who have different strengths and talents as you. A few individuals you may want to include on your board are:
Human resources expert
You may want to include other successful entrepreneurs from different and similar industries who understand the basics of business. For example, if you are starting a creative company and know someone who has a successful, creative organization, consider including him/her.
Note to consider: Most of the time, advisory boards are unofficial. This group of people isn’t the same as a corporate board of directors. They are rarely employed by the company or compensated other than the occasional meal or gift to show appreciation for their work.
How you meet them:
The biggest way to find the right individuals is to join various groups. Whether it’s peer groups for your industry or peer groups for business startups, get plugged in to several outlets.
Ask around. Share your goal of starting a group of advisors. You will be surprised how many entrepreneurs love to help out young startups.
When to meet:
The beauty of a board of advisors is it’s unofficial. You can decide, based on business needs, when and where to meet. You can meet monthly or quarterly as a large group. You can even meet with people individually every month and try to have a group meeting with the entire board quarterly.
Determine what best accomplishes your businesses needs. Don’t be surprised if it changes over time.
Having a group of talented, trusted advisors helps you avoid many of the common, first-time entrepreneur mistakes. The sooner you implement your team, the sooner you can focus your gifts on kickstarting your idea.