There is much talk these days about being in this together and that you are not alone. It’s a great concept and one that can be carried into the business world. When working with potential entrepreneurs I will give the suggestion to form a board of advisors to bring a different set of eyes to their business operation. Similar to a corporate board of directors, a small or medium business panel meets to provide guidance for the owner.
The committee may be made up of as many as desired but limiting it between four and six members will likely encourage efficiency and participation of everyone. Candidates need to be considered trusted advisors and not necessarily from the same business segment. Outsiders of the industry can see what improvement will be beneficial through the eyes of a customer. Individuals asked to participate on the council might include personal friends familiar with the company vision and other entrepreneurs who have faced similar issues. They can provide valuable information and direction from their own experience. Investors may be good candidates as long as they are looking out for the long-term good of the company and not just getting their investment back.
Meeting on a regular basis will be important to ensure ideas can be implemented at the right time. It can be good practice to hold meetings offsite such as in a restaurant providing a meal as a perk for the volunteers. But until face-to-face meetings are once again feasible, tele-conferencing can work just as well. Preparation should take place prior with a specific agenda that includes the current state of the business, new ideas for growth and the mitigation of risks and threats. Other topics to cover may be improving quality, creating a better customer experience and reducing employee turnover. Be sure to bring a clear list of where help is needed.
The mission of the board should be clear and include initiatives such as sharing of information and ideas, learning from the experiences of others and provide the owner with suggestions on how to succeed in the marketplace. Compensation expectations need be addressed upfront. While monetary gifts may not be possible, Pro Quid Quo might be sufficient to interest someone to be involved. Most importantly will be that everyone involved can be trusted not to share confidential information.
Ted Saul is a business coach that assists with Business Planning. He holds a master certificate in project management and has earned his MBA from Regis University. Ted can be reached on LinkedIn or emailing TedSaulBiz@gmail.com .