An Advisory Board, also known as an Advisory Panel, does not have the same fiduciary responsibilities as a Board of Directors, nor do you have to follow the advice of the panel if you choose not to. Their role is bound by a charter and the terms of reference by which you appoint them. They are also one of the best strategic moves a business can make, if you are clear about:
A good Advisory Board is a team of highly experienced professionals who can add incredible value to your company. Amongst the many contributions they can make, they are able to give fresh insights, provide quality advice, monitor business performance and challenge you to consider options and alternatives to grow your business. They add diversity, increase the confidence of your consumers, enhance your company profile and reputation, and can provide invaluable expertise if you are considering listing on the stock market, implementing major change, experiencing a serious threat or facing a take-over.
It is not necessary, and sometimes it is an advantage, to choose at least some of your Advisory Board from experts outside of your industry - in other words, target them for their skills, not their experience in your industry. Commonly sourced members may include financial advisors, legal advisors, entrepreneurs, innovation or technical experts, and industry sector experts, for example people who have experience in leading a union, business chamber or industry advocacy group. Don't overlook the value and depth of experience that can be added by consciously including in your wish list someone who is retired or partially retired, from a different culture or someone with disability.
Payment for their expertise varies, some advisory boards are paid out of pocket expenses and travel and given a good lunch, others may be paid a small retainer or a per meeting fee. We highly recommend getting expert advice from the Association of Company Directors, your solicitor, or have a meeting with one of our industry experts at this stage so that you have the correct governance processes in place before you put the board in place!
Once you have made sure you have proper governance in place, you then workshop your business to determine what your perfect board looks like, draw up a list of possible candidates, and develop your pitch. The level of value you will get out of your board will depend on the clarity you build around the type of people and skills you want brought to your table, and of course your ability to sell your ideal panel member on why they should be investing their valuable time and expertise on your company! This is where Bragging Rights Events can help you. We can facilitate a workshop and bring in industry experts that will help you work through this very important part of the process.
The rest is up to you - like anything, if you make sure the foundation is solid, the rest will easily follow. Rush in and don't create your foundations first, and it will fall over like the proverbial pack of cards. Ready to go but not sure how to take the first step? give us a call and we will guide you through. Our success tip? Always surround yourself with people smarter than you. This is a great way to achieve that.