How to create an advisory board that brings stand-out impact and value — Our 4 winning steps

Published on
November 3, 2022
Jack Williams
Head of Business Development
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Does your company have a reliable team of advisers who are aligned with your purpose? Do they challenge you and help you realise your brand’s full potential? Do they possess the requisite skills, experience, and rapport to work seamlessly with your business?

And if you said YES to these questions, are you maximising your advisory board’s value?

Scale-ups cannot dismiss the importance of a group of seasoned business and industry experts who have your business’ best interests at heart.

While they hold no legal or financial responsibility for your business decisions, your advisory board provides the skills and expertise that most leaders simply do not have.

At the end of the day, your chosen advisory board should possess the qualities that will help you navigate ever-changing data to control market risks, leverage disruptive technology, tap into funding streams, and break into new markets.

The question now is, how can you create an advisory team equipped with the specialised knowledge you need to not just grow and scale your business, but also help you hone the skills and talents to make it on your own?

In this article, we present the 4 winning steps business leaders need to take to ensure they are creating the advisory board of their dreams.

1) Focus on industry leaders

This is a given. Industry leaders know what goes on the ground as well as see the bigger picture for the short and long terms. They have the know-how, connections, and skills to see strategy and decisions through to the end.

A strategic way you can go about this is to limit your search to top executives who 1) are able to persuasively communicate with investors, 2) will draw positive attention from the media and other client bases, 3) have access to complementary teams, and 4) are most likely to buy your product or service.

We will also take this further by recommending that you stay away from the YES-men and go for those who are not afraid to spark productive discussions on what are the best next steps for your scale-up.

Strong, honest relationships with advisory boards are the key to your business’ success. Even if that means having a few disagreements along the way.

2) Leverage your network and then go beyond it

Your choice of potential board members should be a short list, regardless if that includes close friends and family or trusted colleagues and mentors.

And if you do not have great options within your circles, tap into people who do and be diligent in vetting their referrals.

When arranging introductions, remember that these experts are courted by numerous companies multiple times a day. So, be prepared to pitch what makes your company, product/service, and team a winner.

3) Properly compensate and regularly evaluate value

Much like all other consultants, your advisory team’s time is valuable. For most of them, their motivation to assist and guide business leaders is driven by their passion for helping newcomers achieve their goals.

Make sure you take the time to plan out what form of compensation you can offer for their time. This may come in the form of stock options, travel expenses, meals, or salaries, depending on your company’s financial ability.

It is also worth noting that, over time, your business’ needs and challenges change.

When this happens, new board members should be sought out to contribute relevant expertise. To avoid uncomfortable confrontations when it is time to let an advisor go, put forth plans and set contracts in place beforehand.

This is to make sure that board members are offering value when and where it is needed, and will not be taken by surprise once new skillsets are required.

4) Maximise, strategise, communicate

Your advisory board’s recommendations, insights, and feedback are valuable and can inform your next big steps.

Maximise your meetings by providing each board member with all the relevant information (including financial statements, business plans, and detailed monthly reports) ahead of time.

Plan out your meeting location, time, and agenda, as well as meals, accommodations, transportation, and audiovisual needs weeks or months ahead.

Also remember that you should not limit your communication to once every quarter. This can cause crucial business matters to slip through the cracks.

Maintain consistent and ongoing financial, market, and overall business updates on a monthly basis so that every board member can stay informed and can provide timely intervention when needed.

Since 2018, we have helped numerous scale-ups from multiple industries put together advisory boards that offer maximum value and stand-out impact on their business’ bottom lines.

In most cases, our seasoned team of industry experts have sat on these boards themselves and have helped guide businesses in the right direction while minimising risk, cost, and wasted resources.

We hold these partnerships proudly and continue to provide valuable recommendations today. Partner with us if you want us to do the same for you.