Running a business can be a lonely place with limited time to work “on” your business rather than “in” your business, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Advisory Boards provide you with a forum for frank discussions and a sounding board, to discuss issues you see with your business or issues seen from an independent eye. Given they involve a third party, they enforce accountability and discipline in thinking about your future direction rather than the ad hoc light bulb moment that may come too late.
Advisory Boards are where you can throw around ideas about the challenges or opportunities that may arise.
What is an Advisory Board?
An Advisory Board is a formal meeting between management and expert advisors from various backgrounds who each bring their own experience to the table. The meeting is where ideas and potential threats, either current or future, are discussed in a safe place. They differ from a traditional board structure where appointed directors are the attendees.
Generally, as a business owner, the majority of your time is spent running the business. Using an Advisory Board helps you leverage experienced advisors to help improve your business and plug those gaps you may not have within your skill set. This can help to expand your horizons and ensure the decision-making process is robust.
What does an Advisory Board do?
Essentially, the Advisory Board supports the management team by providing:
- Strategic input and commercial thinking;
- Financial acumen;
- Insights and experience gained from other clients;
- Connections to other business professionals;
- Distance from the day-to-day operations to see opportunities not otherwise seen.
The advisors provide recommendations to help you avoid any business traps, but the decisions still remain firmly in your hands.
How do I know I need an Advisory Board?
Generally, the catalyst for setting up an Advisory Board for your business could be one of many reasons. Triggers include:
- Guiding start-up companies during rapid growth phases;
- Moving into new markets, products or industries;
- Moving or exiting geographic areas;
- Restructuring and repositioning a company in the market;
- Implementing major new technology within the organisation;
- Staving off a serious competitive threat;
- Analysing mergers and acquisitions; or
- Getting your business ready for when you plan to exit, including succession planning.
However, an Advisory Board is also beneficial outside of major milestones simply by alerting you to potential problems you may not see yourself. It should be seen as investment in your business future. In addition, an Advisory Board adds accountability and discipline to the decision-making process, which allows you more time to concentrate on the key issues. Much like a personal trainer, an advisory board keeps you focused and on track, particularly as decisions get difficult and real change is required.
Pilot Partners Advisors sit on many Advisory Boards, helping clients through the consolidation of geographical locations, preparing for and dealing with the sale of businesses, intergenerational succession planning and advising high-growth businesses on ways to continue their trajectory.
Clients regularly comment that the advice and value from having an Advisory Board becomes evident almost immediately, helping them think about their business through a different lens.