Who Are Your Trusted Advisors?
A business owner/entrepreneur learns quickly how lonely their job can be. Most businesses are started with a great idea put into action by the person who had the idea. Despite the business growing – slowly or quickly – the business owner remains the key cog in the business wheel. All decisions flow through the business owner. Accountability for success or failure falls squarely on the shoulders of the business owner.
What if the business owner is a great engineer, but not a great marketer? Not a great finance person? Not a great sales person? Not good at managing staff? The skills necessary to create a product or market are not necessarily the right skills for adapting the product to changing customer requirements, expanding the market, managing the operations of the company, increasing the financial viability of the company or a variety of other essential activities.
What can a business owner do to fill the gaps in expertise without increasing headcount, payroll or the amount of money spent monthly on legal or accounting services?
Obtain Access to an Advisory Board
Advisory boards can span the full spectrum of being a sounding board for the business owner to filling the gaps in expertise that exist. The advisory board can offer assistance in anything from sales and marketing, to finance, to human resources, to operations, to steering the business towards achievement of original objectives and goals.
Advisory boards can be very helpful in directing operations and in keeping business owners informed of industry and financial trends. If the business does not have a legal advisor or an accountant, these should be the first roles to fill on an advisory board. Unless the business is a start-up, these particular roles should already in place in a revenue-generating business.
Your business can benefit from an advisory board of knowledgeable, well-connected peers to help your business grow and prosper. Advisors can discuss ideas, provide a reality check, tell you the truth when others can't and be there to confide in when there's no one else you can trust.
- Have you ever needed to discuss a challenge with a few like-minded professionals but didn't have the networks or resources to find the right fit?
- Are you isolated when making strategic decisions and would benefit from seasoned advice?
- Would your business benefit from additional skills that complement those of your company's management?
First Beacon can function as your business advisory board to help you resolve challenges with objective insights, fill talent gaps, build networks and gain validity in the eyes of potential investors.
A properly built and managed advisory board can help you in many areas including:
- Optimizing your business model;
- Cutting costs;
- Streamlining operations;
- Increasing marketing effectiveness;
- Obtaining additional financing;
- Overcoming employee challenges
The most successful boards are formed with a specific goal in mind.
- Do you need help honing your vision of where you want to take the business?
- Have you put a succession plan in place so you can retire or move on?
- Should you revamp your marketing plan to help you reach new customers through new media?
- Are you contemplating some personnel changes and need advice and guidance from an experienced human resources consultant?
An advisory board can be as formal or as informal as it suits the business. It is, however, not a replacement for a formal board of directors.
Business Advisory Board or Board of Directors?
A board of directors:
- Has a fiduciary responsibility to the company and can be liable for mistakes that a company makes.
- Have an obligation to the company first, and the business owner second.
Advisory board members:
- Don't have fiduciary responsibility, and thus cannot be held liable.
- The small business owner comes first and helps steer you in the right direction to best care for the company.
In most cases, businesses benefit more from having a consistent advisory board composed of people with a genuine interest in your business and a desire to see it do well. This valuable management resource can provide direction, accountability and expertise that leads to the growth and success of your business.
Contact us for more information on our business advisory board services.
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As a small business owner it is often necessary to juggle many hats. For that reason, when I find someone I respect, trust and like to help me juggle one of my hats, I consider it a great day because it is so rare. Debra is such a person. Even better, as a small business… “Susan Soble”