Unless you like going it alone, both up and down the ladder of success, then yes you need an advisory board. We all do. No one person has the experience necessary to leverage every tool in the tool box. Even if they did, the risk of missing an opportunity is just too great not to tap into some other people’s experience.
An advisory board does not have to be formal, nor does it have to meet as a group. You can tap into your advisors individually if you want to keep things on a more informal basis. However, you might be missing out on some synergies of getting all your advisors in the same room at the same time. Plus, working as a team can frequently increase the sense of urgency to kick a new strategy into action.
Think diversity first. It’s easy to talk to your friends that have similar businesses about the issues you face. You may be thinking they have the same issues so why not see how they deal with it. That’s a great idea, you should be encouraged to do just that, but don’t confuse good communication with advice. Your advisors need some diversity in their experience. They may need to have different industry experiences than yours to bring in the correct feedback. You also should tap into a wide variety of experience levels including some folks with gray hair.
Consider past business owners. Maybe someone who has run a business about your size or hit a similar growth target as your setting for your business. For instance if you are trying to grow your revenues to over $10 million this year, then leverage someone who has already grown their business to $15 million. Consider someone who has sold a business before if that is a long-term objective as well. There is much to be shared about how to prepare your business for an acquisition.
Photo credit to Charles Forerunner