Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

December 2017

Recent Posts

Now that you have a solid framework for your advisory board, there are a few other points to take into consideration to stack the deck in your favor and cinch the success of your board.

What kind of expertise do you want to consider for an advisory board?

Good question! I’m so glad you asked. Based on your intended objective for your board, I’d suggest the following experts to guide your small business growth.

  • accountant,
  • business attorney,
  • marketing strategist who especially understands the nuances of consumer behavior,
  • business coach/strategist who has a clear understanding of your long-term vision,
  • human resources, and
  • any additional skill or expertise that you desire depending on the nature of your business and your goals.

Additionally, I highly recommend using a skilled facilitator that can keep things moving to your desired outcome for each meeting. This frees you up to fully engage in the meetings.

Finally, remember to have someone with keen listening skills and attention to detail to accurately capture your meetings.

Where can you find experts for your advisory board?

Your immediate network may or may not have the expertise you want on your board. If this is the case, consider asking for referrals from trusted sources.

Be sure to secure at least three potential specialists for each position of expertise you’re looking to fill so you’re not “locked in” to accept someone that may not be a good fit.

Finally, properly vet each consideration for proper fit.

Is it a okay to have “friends” on your board?

In a word, NO! Although I have to say that I have business colleagues with a high level of expertise that have, over time, become good friends. I trust them explicitly and wouldn’t hesitate to ask them to serve on my board.

Friends — or family members — may sound like a great (i.e., easy) idea but without an understanding of, or entrepreneurial experience, they may not be the most objective specialist to have on your advisory board.

How are board members compensated?

Compensation is highly recommended. Whether you pay someone a flat rate per meeting, compensate them with shares in your business, or pony up reimbursement based on their hourly rate, compensation demonstrates your respect for their time and expertise. And, it shows you are serious!

How do you ask someone to serve on your advisory board?

The approach you use to reach out to a potential board member depends on your relationship with the individual. Whether you approach them by email, phone, or over lunch, here’s a three-step approach to consider to avoid wasting their time pouring over information unnecessarily.

  1. Provide a brief statement (one sentence) stating your desire for their participation and ask permission to send more information.
  2. Assuming they say “yes,” send a well-thought out branded document of your board objective, role, responsibilities, and expectations. Include the “next steps” informing them of when — and how — you will follow up to discuss in greater detail.
  3. Assuming another “yes,” proceed to a full conversation about your expectations, and their questions, regarding serving on your board.

Obviously, this is the beginning of your journey to setting up a successful board.

Have you set up an advisory board? What advice would you share?

Running a small business can be a bewildering experience. Besides Siri, the halls of a small business can be a lonely place. To whom do you turn for advice? Share ideas? Hear yourself think? Provide a dose of reality? If you’re not working with a strategic business coach, an advisory board may be desireable.

What is an Advisory Board & Why would I want one?

According to our friends at Wikipedia, an advisory board is a body that provides non-binding strategic advice to the management of a corporation, organization, or foundation. Many new or small businesses choose to have advisory boards in order to benefit from the knowledge of others, without the expense or formality of the Board of Directors.

The primary reason for creating an advisory board is to acquire advice and guidance outside of the business. Depending upon your intention for your board, members may provide “wise business counsel,” act as a resource, monitor performance, furnish objective insights and ideas, as well as provide support and encouragement.

Crossing T’s & Dotting I’s

As with anything business-related, pre-planning is helpful. Considering an advisory board is no exception.

Before making your first board member request, be sure you think through your answers to key questions.

  1. What outcome do you want from your advisory board?
  2. How many members do you want on your board?
  3. What type of expertise are you interested in acquiring for your board?
  4. How often will your board meet? For how long?
  5. Where will meetings occur?
  6. What does a proposed meeting agenda look like?
  7. What will be required beyond regular meeting attendance?
  8. Will you ask for complete confidentiality? What actions will you take if a member violates this agreement?

Now it’s your turn. What other pre-planning questions would you add to this list?

business strategy

We all believe we’re pretty good at strategic thinking. Yet, only 3 out of 10 small business owners know how to think, plan, and excecute strategically. Eek!

Refining your strategic skills creates a treasure trove of opportunities for you, including:

  • a fresh look at the business environment to identify trends and strengthen business
  • establishment of a clear direction — the one you want
  • smarter business decisions based on sound principles
  • better and wiser allocation of resources
  • improved positioning in the marketplace for better (and easier) growth
  • …and many more

business strategy

How Strategic Are You?

Rick Horwath, the best selling author on strategy, provides a quick quiz to test these vital skills. Are you ready for this (Answers are below — no peeking!)?

1. At the heart of the business strategy is:

A. The intelligent allocation of limited resources.

B. Distributing resources across all potential growth opportunities.

C. Working to be better and faster than the competition.

2. Successful business strategy is about:

A. Being better than the competition.

B. Having the “right people on the bus.”

C. Providing differentiated value to customers.

3. The three disciplines of strategy are:

A. People, strategy, and process.

B. Customer focus, service, and product leadership.

C. Acumen, allocation, and action.

4. A goal is:

A. The current purpose of the organization.

B. The general outcome you’re trying to achieve.

C. The specific outcome you’re trying to achieve.

5. An objective is:

A. The specific outcome you’re trying to achieve.

B. The future purpose of the organization.

C. The general outcome you’re trying to achieve.

6. Goals and objectives represent:

A. How you will achieve your mission and vision.

B. What you are trying to achieve.

C. The tactical means of achieving business success.

7. Strategy and tactics represent:

A. How you will achieve your goals and objectives.

B. Long and short term goals.

C. A balanced scorecard indicating business performance.

8. Strategic thinking can be defined as:

A. The annual process for creating a strategic plan.

B. The ability to generate business insights on a continual basis.

C. Using SWOT Analysis to identify opportunities and threats.

9. An effective strategy depends just as much on:

A. Tactics as it does goals and objectives.

B. The economy as it does on your core competencies.

C. What you choose not to do as it does on what you choose to do.

10. Good strategy requires managers to:

A. Not be all things to all people.

B. Serve as many customers as possible.

C. Develop an exit strategy for the business.

Sooooo, how did you do?

Ready to Achieve More?

Being strategic means achieving what you’ve never achieved before.

(Answers:  1.A  2.C  3.C  4.B  5.A  6.B  7.A  8.B  9.C  10.A)

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

Search The Blog