An advisory board can be one of the most powerful management tools in your leadership’s arsenal. They can offer a diversity of opinion and experience beyond a traditional board of directors, and provide professional perspectives to guide your strategy development.

Meeting with advisory board members on a regular basis can help you navigate situations beyond your know-how, and alert you to threats and opportunities. Nothing beats real-life and cross-industry experience, all of which your advisory board can provide.

Here are some ways that an advisory board can take your business to the next level:

Widen Your Net, Hone Your Strengths

A well-founded board will include members with a variety of skills and experience. A vast knowledge base allows you to leverage many areas of small business, and a board of eight members can equate to eight widely different voices.

At the end of the day, a diverse advisory board means diverse insights. Consider knowledge gaps or areas of weakness in your management team, and supplement these with advisors who boast complementary experience.

Challenge Yourself

Your advisory board shouldn’t be an audience of yes-men who nod enthusiastically at every word from your mouth. A valuable advisory board will challenge your opinions, and provide alternative solutions with qualified insights.

When you’re working ‘in’ your business and ‘on’ your business at the same time, it’s easy to miss the bigger picture. This is where an experienced board can step in and challenge your thinking. Business owners can suffer from tunnel vision and an advisory board can broaden their perspectives.

In short, your advisory board can save you from making mistakes that you’d otherwise be blind to.

Foster the Creative Process

The day-to-day of running a business can take up space in your mind. While you may have the greatest intention to innovate and drive growth, you may find your creativity becomes stifled when your focus is on your to-do list.

This is where an advisory board can be of great benefit. They can allow you to see beyond your daily routine, with new perspectives and innovative solutions.

Advance Your Network

An advisory board can also boost your business network. Think about it this way, over the years you have built up your own professional contacts list. When another eight people become dedicated to helping you grow your business, their professional networks also become implicated.

From this group of people, you may source funding opportunities, new strategic partners, vendors, and even find industry experts and potential board members.

First person referrals and introductions can open many doors that may otherwise have remained shut. Embrace these and leverage your network – you never know the opportunities the next introduction may hold.

Personal and Professional Development

When starting out in business, owners often lack experience in communications, interpersonal relationships and management. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and it can take first-hand experience to learn new skills.

However, an advisory board can account for your own areas of inexperience, with the wealth of knowledge they already possess. They can also serve as mentors for your personal and professional development.

Advisory boards can be valuable to all types of businesses. Professional, diverse and experienced board members can assist the direction of your business, identify opportunities and weakness, and even present opportunities of their own through their professional networks.


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Neil Parker
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