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When a Business Coach Is Not Enough

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When a Business Coach Is Not Enough

A big challenge for us all is our changing market, even our changing competitors and keeping up with these changes as well as running our business.

We need critical thinking and quality conversations.

  • Where do you have these conversations and who with?
  • Who do you discuss specific issues with?
  • Are these confidential conversations and do you have someone to keep you accountable to the decisions you make?
  • Does this confidante have experience and a true depth of knowledge?
  • Do they keep themselves up to date in this fast-changing economy?

Whether you’re in start-up, ready to lift the anti in your business or just want to do ‘better’ this could be the solution you are looking for.

Build an advisory board.

I established an advisory board in my own business several years ago which has provided me with firsthand experience in how a well-run advisory board can positively impact you and your business. It gives you clarity in operational thinking and leads to better decision making.

Build an advisory board of two to three members. You don’t give away your power or authority, you still ultimately make the decisions, but you have a depth of advice and problem solving behind you whilst having access to their judgement, experience and to their contacts.

What sort of advisors should you look for?

People who bring credibility and value to the table. They personally have reached a level of success in business and have proven that they know what they are talking about. No textbook can teach the value of hands-on experience and knowledge gained through living and breathing it.

Ideally, these people will have experience within your sector at an executive level. A Chief Executive Officer, Finance Executive and Marketing Executive would be a great fit.

How do you find the right people for your advisory board?

LinkedIn is a great place to start, however, asking for introductions and/or referrals within your trusted business community is invaluable. Often this person will be retired, happy to share their expertise and not be in it for the money. This doesn’t mean, don’t pay them, I believe you should at least cover their expenses and some more. There are alternative ways to consider paying, such as a small profit share or even business equity. For a well-established business, you could consider paying with some shares.

A word of advice, just because someone calls themselves a Business Advisor doesn’t mean they have the knowledge and experience. They may have a certificate from somewhere that offers short courses but be aware and check their background. Actually, always check the background of anyone you are going to have as a trusted person in your business. This includes employees.

What are the expectations of the advisory board?

The members would attend monthly or quarterly board meetings where you look at strategy along with reviews. It may be agreed to also have phone and/or email support during the time between meetings. It is important to have the meetings well-structured, and it is up to you to do the preparation beforehand. The advisory members then read this information pre-meeting and are prepared ready for the meeting.

How to attract the best of the best.

Think from their perspective. What’s in it for them?

  • A new title, ‘advisory board member’ to add to their profile (people are proud to have this title).
  • Exposure to new technologies and business initiatives.
  • Opportunity to give back to the business community.
  • If in their own business, it provides exposure and contacts for them.

Craft an invitation letter outlining your business overview, your objectives and what you require of their time and expertise. Be very clear and precise and then follow up with a telephone call a few days later.

Don’t take it personally if they say no, just thank them and ask do they have a colleague they would recommend. Keep looking until you find the right mix of skills and personalities. It will take time, but it will be worth it.

A dream advisory board is a small investment for large rewards. Business owners that are open, transparent, willing to listen and question then act, will avoid costly mistakes. Your business will grow as will profitability and sustainability.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"



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