Advisory Boards – the CEO’s Secret Weapon for Fast Forwarding Good Growth

Written by Carol Coughlin. Posted in Business Leadership

When it’s time to grow, what’s your first step? Secure growth capital? Staff up? Sell like crazy?

While these activities all play a part, one of the least talked about and best tools for fast-forwarding growth is a high-impact Advisory Board – a group of carefully selected, highly competent and experienced people on whom you can rely on for:

  • Unbiased insight
  • Critical connections
  • In-depth and specific knowledge
  • Serious accountability to the company’s goals

High-impact Advisory Boards work because they’re comprised of individuals ideally suited for helping your company reach higher levels of performance, profitable growth.

But how do you know you’re ready for a high-impact Advisory Board? Here are a few scenarios that indicate it’s time:

  • You want to grow your company, but the expertise you need is not represented within current management.
  • You need more advice than your existing paid professionals (e.g. law or accounting firm, HR or sales consultant) can provide.
  • You want to penetrate new markets, but need credibility in those arenas.
  • You’re positioning your company for a merger, acquisition, sale, joint venture or succession.
  • You’re facing business challenges and your management team tells you they need help.
  • Your company is seeking equity investments.

Once you determine the time is right, how should you start? The success or failure of your high-impact Advisory Board rests on your diligent management of the process. You need to be 100% on top of the task by:

  1. Deciding the purpose and objectives of your Advisory Board: Spreading your advisors too thin will water down results. Know what you want from your team of experts and keep yourself and your Advisory Board members focused.
  2. Identifying the skills and experience you need to achieve your Advisory Board’s goals: There are lots of talented people out there, but a high-impact Advisory Board exists for single-minded purpose and must have that very specific expertise.
  3. Developing a plan for hiring, orienting, compensating and managing your high-impact Advisory Board: Without this plan in place ahead of time, you risk a slow, confusing start and will turn-off the type of individual who can do your company the most good.

The above is not always easy to do solo because of constraints on your time and perhaps the need for an objective perspective. That’s why investing in an Advisory Board expert to guide you through the process can be invaluable.

But whether you seek outside assistance or do it yourself, it pays to know the basic parameters and structure of high-impact Advisory Boards – and that’s exactly what we’ll share with you next time.

Carol Coughlin

Carol Coughlin founded BottomLine Growth Strategies, Inc., in 2006 as a way for small and medium-sized businesses to access the same high-level financial and operational expertise that gives large companies a distinct advantage. Using her own extensive corporate experience and willingness to sit in the hot seat as a catalyst, Carol helps BottomLine Growth clients climb to the summit of their success.
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