As a small business owner, you have several competitive advantages over big businesses. You can build stronger relationships with customers, deliver more personalized experiences and have the flexibility to adapt more quickly to market changes. But there’s one big business tool you may want to consider: an advisory board. It’s an informal group of business leaders who advise and support but have no legal authority over your company. Read on to find out why it’s important to have an advisory board and how you can build an effective team.
Why You Need a Small Business Advisory Board
An advisory board provides numerous competitive advantages, including:
- A fresh, neutral perspective on key business decisions
- Expertise in skills you or your team might lack
- Input into strategic and operational planning
- Guidance on crisis prevention and response and key transitions to reduce costly mistakes
- A network of key influencers to build awareness and credibility
With enthusiasm and the right small business advisory board, you could ultimately see your sales increase and your bottom line improve.
How to Build an Effective Advisory Board
Assess your skills
Are there areas of expertise that your organization lacks, such as legal, human resources, technology or marketing? Look for people who have those skills when assembling your advisory team. Take notes as you go and keep them in a padfolio.
Define your goals and structure
Know your objectives, what role each advisor will have and the boundaries that will define your board. You’ll also want to plan how often to meet and how large (or small) to make the board. Store these details using a USB drive (#C111683) and share with each member at your first meeting.
Ideal candidates are experienced, well respected, honest and committed to your mission. Avoid potential conflicts of interest by not allowing family members, friends or anyone who has a personal stake in your work (like a vendor) to serve on the board. When you’ve chosen your candidates, invite them to join using promotional items, such as a Keepsake Tin or a metal pen and mechanical pencil set. Once they have accepted, provide welcome-to-the-team advisor gifts like a nice shirt to show pride in your business and a combo power bank/phone stand to create a comfortable meeting environment.
Unlike a nonprofit board, small business advisory board members are usually compensated for their service. The stipend varies depending on the size of your business and the expectations of your members, but often range from $500 to $3,000 per meeting. Consider stock options or some form of equity if you want an ultra-committed stakeholder. You may also cover any out-of-pocket expenses and provide travel gear, if needed, like the Zoom Checkpoint-Friendly Laptop Messenger.
Periodic small business promotional gifts will also help retain board members and encourage regular meeting participation. An advisory board can prove to be a tremendous asset to your business. Use these tips to help make your members feel valued and eager to help!