How to Best Utilize Your Advisory Board to Grow Your Business
Give one way to best utilize your advisory board to grow your business?
To help you utilize your advisory board to grow your business, we asked C-level executives and small business owners this question for their best insights. From expanding your resource networks to planning innovative initiatives, there are several ways your advisory board can help you expand your company.
Here are twelve ways to utilize your advisory board to grow your business:
- Expand Resource Networks
- Seek Up-to-Date Knowledge On Funding Opportunities
- Evaluate the Competition
- Recruit for Open Positions
- Listen and Work On Ideas With Them
- Exploit Their Expertise With Specific Tasks
- Be Open and Honest
- Use Them as a Marketing Tool
- Gain Insightful Perspectives
- Analyze New Market Opportunities
- Hold Them Accountable With KPIs
- Plan Innovative Initiatives
Expand Resource Networks
You can utilize your advisory board to expand resource networks for your business, which can come in handy. Since other businesses are tapped into your regional business network, you should be, too. With your advisory board's help, you can find resource networks relevant to your field, also connecting you with potential donors and experts in your industry. You can use your advisory board to find and put together the best management team for your organization. Advisors may know of relevant resources you’ve never thought of before to support your expansion.
Kenna Hamm, Texas Adoption Center
Seek Up-to-Date Knowledge On Funding Opportunities
As a business owner, you might need a large influx of cash or capital to grow your business, but aren't sure of your options, or which would be the best to pursue. This is the time to use your advisory board. Ask them whether you should go with angel investors, seek out VC funds, or even apply for a traditional bank loan. Those on your advisory board can help you sift through your options and find the best one for your situation.
Allan J. Switalski, AVANA Capital
Evaluate the Competition
One way to use your advisory board to help grow your business is by having it focus on the competition. As you concentrate on the day-to-day tasks of running your business, your advisory board can evaluate the competition. It can identify both weaknesses in their models, as well as any threats they may pose to your market share or bottom line. Advisors can relay what your competitors are doing to ensure you stay ahead.
Nick Santora, Curricula
Recruit for Open Positions
Leverage your advisory board as a recruiting tool. You can ask board members to suggest people for open management positions and consulting opportunities. As experts in your field, they can offer the best recommendations. Using your advisory board for recruitment, you can expedite the hiring process, improve workflow, and optimize production.
Bill Glaser, Outstanding Foods
Listen and Work On Ideas With Them
One of the best ways to utilize your advisory board to grow your business, that most business owners tend to forget, is to simply listen and work on their ideas with them. Everyday life for business owners and leaders can be full of busy projects, reports, meetings, trainings, and everything in between, so remembering certain topics and ideas can be nearly impossible. Some owners might just leave decision making completely to their advisory board without listening or taking heed. However, it should always be important to listen and thoughtfully weigh in on your advisory board's ideas as they are there to assist you in making executive decisions. Make sure to not only listen, but avidly work on these ideas with your board to see which one can be a sure fire good choice.
James Burati, 1-800-PackRat
Exploit Their Expertise With Specific Tasks
The best way to utilize an advisory board is to assign them specific tasks that will help the business grow. This could include tasks such as market research, strategy development, networking, and more, depending on their unique experience and expertise. By delegating specific tasks to the advisory board, you can ensure that they are fully utilized and that their expertise is being put to good use.
Matthew Ramirez, Rephrasely
Be Open and Honest
Sometimes an advisory board fails because the company's founders and managers do not share all of the company's information with the board members. To successfully carry out its mandate, it must be honest and transparent. By withholding information about your day-to-day operations, annual sales goals, or international investment ventures, the board lacks an accurate picture of your company and, as a result, cannot provide the strategic advice or sound recommendations you may require to move forward.
Axel Hernborg, Tripplo.com
Use Them as a Marketing Tool
Although people relate advisory board activities to items synonymous with their name, not as many understand that they can be used to grow your business as a marketing tool. People often associate the success and strength of business based on the people who are part of it, gravitating to a company that has successful people behind it. Placing well experienced and respected advisory board members on websites, brochures, social media, email advertising, and even as spokespeople, builds confidence in potential investors, community organizations, and customers that can grow your business. Using your board members as ambassadors of your brand and as part of your marketing business model, rather than just as consultants, can add an effective mechanism to enhance your company.
Cody Candee, Bounce
Gain Insightful Perspectives
When you are in a business on a daily basis, it is easy to lose perspective and get into a "you can’t see the forest, for the trees” mode, but a solid advisory board can keep you grounded and growing your business. During initiation, business structure plans are often presented to an advisory board, who discuss and finally approve a strategy. However, unpredictable shifts in the marketplace, unexpected expenses, or overlooked possibilities, can cause difficulties that require fresh eyes and different levels of expertise, which your advisory board can provide. By leaning on your advisory board in these crucial moments, you can gain insightful perspectives, as well as effective strategies to deal with these issues effectively and continue to grow your business.
Adelle Archer, Eterneva
Analyze New Market Opportunities
As you look to expand your business, your advisory board can analyze new market opportunities on your behalf. Market research can be incredibly time consuming, but your advisory board hopefully has the resources you lack to handle it quickly and efficiently. Utilize their knowledge and connections to find your target market. They can identify markets or product areas you've overlooked, and also advise you on the best course of action.
Ed Stevens, Preciate
Hold Them Accountable With KPIs
Hold your advisory board accountable with benchmark KPIs. The best advisory boards are ones who are motivated and active in advising and supporting your business. You may be under the impression that a board member is not doing their job to the fullest, but the only way to ensure it is to maintain clear KPI goals, and to replace board members when those goals are not met. Don’t weigh your advisory team down with members who aren’t contributing–always seek the most active and productive participants.
John Jacob, Hoist
Plan Innovative Initiatives
Advisory boards can offer more than guidance on following current industry best practices; your business may be leaving money on the table if future-casting isn’t a recurring topic in meetings. Utilizing data tools like consumer behavior trends and predictive analytics can help a business determine which moonshots will be a part of the 1-, 3-, and 5-year plans, as well as how these innovation initiatives will be measured upon launch and stacking-up against the competition.
Kodak is a great example of what not to do as it relates to innovation planning; when the market quickly transitioned to digital, they were left in the dust with a clunky, irrelevant product that cost consumers more than emerging offerings. Every advisory board meeting needs time to identify external factors and opportunities that will support a business through strategic innovation to stay competitive, relevant, and profitable in perpetuity.
Russell Lieberman, Altan Insights
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