By Candida Seasock
No leader can build a great business alone…and regardless of company size or industry, getting high quality advice can significantly improve a company’s chances for success. There are a number of ways to obtain advice, from informal networking all the way to boards of directors.
For many business owners, the decision to bring in outside advice can be gut-wrenching. Many are wary of setting up a board of directors with formal responsibilities and authority. Increasingly, organizations are turning to advisory boards as a way to obtain expert advice without giving up control. An advisory board can help owners get comfortable with providing company information to, and receiving expert advice from, third parties.
WHAT IS AN ADVISORY BOARD?
An advisory board is a body of experts that provide non-binding but informed guidance to the management of an organization. It consists of accomplished professionals who often have decades of industry experience. Along with the ability to accelerate a company’s path to success and to avoid common pitfalls, an advisory board can serve as a tremendous ally toward achieving effective corporate governance.
WHY BUILD AN ADVISORY BOARD?
IT CAN BE LONELY AT THE TOP
Executives who are building companies do not always have the luxury of a large team with specialized skills such as legal, HR, or even regulatory expertise to provide meaningful guidance. For others, the complexity and speed of business makes it difficult to get help on any one topic. Advisory boards can fill in skills gaps and offer on-demand expertise to advise reliably on any particular topic. Advisors can make introductions to people who can help you and your company. A personal introduction to a high caliber connection can make the difference between success and failure.
SPEED TO IMPLEMENTATION
Developing an effective board of directors is a long-term commitment and works well when there is good chemistry between the members. An advisory board can be assembled quickly and can allow you to observe people’s contributions and level of commitment before appointing them to the board of directors. As such, an advisory board can serve as a feeder group to the board. And often times it requires less of a time commitment as an advisory board typically meets twice a year with a narrower range of issues. Boards of directors generally meet four or more times a year, with board committees requiring additional time.
A CEO may feel more comfortable expressing partially defined options or tentative views before a group of people whose expressed purpose is to give advice. Presenting to an advisory board can serve as a “test drive” before having to be more definitive in public or before the board of directors. And advisors can contribute to your personal development. Over time, and as your company grows, these advisors can become your mentors and even serve on a future company you may launch.
While the process of determining the mandate of an advisory board, recruiting members, and organizing the group for success may seem daunting, Executive Leaders for Advisory Boards (ELAB) is here to help. ELAB is an exceptional group of select company founders, owners, corporate officers, entrepreneurs, and global executive leaders—all highly accomplished, successful, and organized to serve small, mid, and enterprise-level companies at all stages of growth.
In alignment with you and your business, ELAB can help your organization develop its strategic roadmap, recognize and remove impediments to growth, and provide the continuous guidance necessary to scale efficiently. In addition to internal experience and expertise, ELAB advisors have built extensive networks over the course of successful professional careers and will leverage those connections for your benefit.
We have come full circle to the purpose of creating an advisory board. It is our belief that every company should aim to have an advisory board. It is proven to be a fundamental factor in a company’s growth and provides added confidence when tackling the various hurdles of running a business. In the end, the value you receive is well-worth the investment.
Candida Toccia Seasock |CEO | CTS Associates, LLC – Strategic Advisors to Growth Companies |
Founder and Chair of ELAB – http://advisory-boards.org/our-value/
Mobile: (609) 471-1188 |firstname.lastname@example.org| /linkedin.com/in/candidaseasock