Guident Newsletter – February 2017 – Issue 9

I’m much smarter in a room full of people!

As I work with small to mid-size businesses, I struggle to convince the business owner that he or she would be much better off with an advisory team.  As business owners we think we are pretty good.  We are!  That’s how we get to be business owners.  But that sense of confidence can also be a deterrent to business owners increasing the owner’s equity in their organizations.

A client once said to me, “I can’t talk to my employees, I can’t talk to my spouse, I can’t talk to my banker, who can I talk to about my business challenges?”  This is a problem in a lot of smaller organizations and the answer is “your advisory board”.

For most advisory boards of smaller companies the board members are volunteers.  For starters, I recommend inviting your banker, your lawyer, your CPA, and old sage (retired) business professional you know, maybe from your church or Rotary Club, etc.  In my experience an odd number of members is best for voting and I would keep it small to start, seven members at most.  These people may not know your business as intimately as you do, but they do know business!

You can meet once a month or once a quarter depending on your preference and the availability of your advisory board members.  I have had advisory boards for most of my businesses and I have found them to be invaluable.  I know they have saved me money and/or helped me make more money for my companies.  In turn, I have served on advisory boards for universities, Chamber of Commerce’s, non-profit businesses and for-profit businesses.  In both cases, either having an advisory board or serving on an advisory board, I can honestly say that I benefited as much as the organizations did and I have some very close relationships as a result.

Take a close look at including an advisory board into your business strategy.  A collective brain trust with diverse experiences can help you to establish ”best practices” and help you avoid “re-inventing the wheel”.  Throughout my career, “I have always been smarter in a room full of smart people than I have been by myself!”  I’m betting you will be smarter to…