Moving forward in your business takes creativity and ingenuity. Forming an informal group of mentors who can serve as advisors is a brilliant next step toward advancing your vision for yourself and the business. The group of advisors is not a board of directors. They do not have any financial interest in your business. Instead, they are there to share their knowledge, assist in thinking strategically about your business, and offer specific advice in key areas.
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Confidentiality Is Key
When selecting your advisors, first, it is mandatory to sign a non-disclosure agreement and a non-compete agreement. If the advisor candidate does not sign, then do not accept them as an advisor. Make it formal and clear in writing and signed that all meetings are confidential.
A Good Board Member
The advisory board you select will aid you in strategic thinking and offer insights and feedback from outside your business. Use your board to garner expertise in different business areas when necessary. Board members should focus on what is required for the business to succeed. A board usually consists of 3-5 persons you feel are a good fit and will meet your needs for the business and yourself as the owner.
Here are attributes of an advisory board member:
- Objective and honest
- Expertise and knowledge outside your skillset
- Genuine interest in assisting you to succeed
- Problem solvers who communicate effectively
- Well respected in their fields
- Well-connected networks
An Effective Board
When forming the board, make sure you have the following ground rules and structure in place:
- Non-disclosure and non-compete signed
- Set expectations on role and time commitment
- Organized agendas; respect each other’s time
- Express appreciation always
- Establish value: identify the results you are looking for with their input
Make It Happen
Decide to act and begin building your advisory board with the start of the New Year. You, as the owner, play three roles: entrepreneur, manager, and technician (The E-Myth). Help your business and yourself by focusing on the skills and knowledge that will advance you in the direction of your goals. Get assistance; it’s a wise move for an owner who knows that they can not do it all and get the best results alone.
Delegate — not abdicate — your responsibilities. Open the lines of communication with your advisory board and with your team. Get to know the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of all your associates, the business, and yourself. Then, begin working on creative solutions with your advisory board. Together, you can accomplish so much.
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