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Getting Strategic Help for Your Small Business

Don’t try to go it alone…look for support.

Too often small businesses don’t consider that they can, and should, have a network of professional support and guidance behind them to help them with their business. I’m talking about either a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board.

First, let’s define each.

Board of Directors: A formally structured group of elected or appointed members who oversee the activities of the company. The Board of Directors works closely with the president or CEO of the business to develop strategy that is then implemented by the leadership team of the business. In publicly held companies, a Board of Directors is required.

Advisory Board: An informal group of individuals with varied expertise and background who provide guidance through acting as a sounding board or offering advice based on their own experiences to assist in making strategic decisions about the business.

Often, however, small businesses have advisory boards that they call their Board of Directors. While they are distinct groups, you do often see the two terms interchanged. Let’s focus this article simply on the benefits of having one – no matter what you call it!

In an article on Business on Main entitled, Is It Time to Upgrade Your Board of Directors, a fantastic list is provided of what you do not want in a Board of Directors.  I have seen personally with many clients that many of the items on this list are so common, especially in smaller businesses. For example, I know of one small business owner whose board was made up of mainly family members and friends. Another small business owner told me that she had a great time getting together with her board members, who have become close friends, but yet rarely got anything related to the business done such as strategic planning sessions or guidance on running the business. In her article, Susan Schreter, advises business owners that the best board members are those that have “been there, done that” and can therefore advise business owners on their strategic direction.

A Board of Directors, or even an Advisory Board, can provide the small business owner with greatly needed guidance and support to ensure the growth of the business.  As a small business owner, you do not have experience in every area of the business. Frankly owners of larger businesses don’t have expertise in every area of the business. Your Board of Directors or Advisory Board can provide you that missing expertise. Have experts on the Board with a background in legal issues, company growth, international expansion, accounting, and other areas of key importance to your business’ success.

Don’t have a board of directors or advisory board in place? Get started today in pulling one together. You’ll find that you can expedite the growth of your business and compete in an increasingly complex world.

Interested in learning more about using an advisory board? Read a previous article on Using a Customer Advisory Council.

Disclaimer: This post is a part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis.