You Don't Need a Boardroom to Have a Board of Advisors
By Lisa Cherney

 

 

Everyone needs coaches and advisors. The greatest athletes and performers consult additional experts in areas outside their particular talent (golf, acting, etc), so they can maximize their success. Does Tiger Woods write his own press releases or negotiate sponsorship contracts? Does Brad Pitt distribute his own movies?

NO! They have a Board of Advisors around them to allow them to focus on doing what they love. They acknowledge that their time is best spent playing golf and acting (or just being with their families). They also know they are not experts on finance or marketing so they find people who are and ask for their help.

No Board Meetings Required
A Board of Advisors doesn't mean that you have to meet regularly around a big mahogany table. It can simply mean that you commit to calling everyone on your Board at least once a quarter. Some people like to commit to having lunch with each board member monthly. (Your treat, of course!)

As your business grows, you may actually want to have ³real² board meetings. Imagine a group of experts getting together for the sole purpose of supporting you and your business! There are many professional associations that create these types of boards as a value-added membership benefit. Everyone takes turns supporting each other and acting as their Board of Advisors. The bottom line is ‹ this can be as formal or informal as you would like. The important thing is to designate the members and then ask for their help.

No Expense Required

You know, you don't have to have tons of money to have this support. In fact, it doesn't need to cost any money! Did you ever notice that when you ask someone about something they are passionate about, they enjoy giving you their opinion? There are plenty of people in your life right now who would be honored to be on your Board of Advisors. People love to be acknowledged for their expertise.

Is there a family member who is an accountant or financial expert? Is there friend who has a successful business and can show you the ropes? Maybe a member of your church has marketing experience and you can treat them to lunch to pick their brain. Don't let your budget stand in your way.

I have both paid and unpaid members on my Board. Some started out as a lunch meeting every once in a while, and later I decided it would be worth the investment to have their on-going support on a more formal basis.

I've also worked out trade arrangements with other members. I'm on their Board as a marketing coach/consultant, and they help me in the areas of business management and landscape design. (You can trade for personal services too!)  Become willing to ask for help, and you will be delighted by how willing people are to share their expertise for the price of a good cup of coffee!

Your Available Board Positions

Now, let's talk about how you determine who to ask to be on your board. There are two considerations: 1) their area of expertise, and 2) who they are as a person. The second consideration is actually the more important of the two. Decide what ³type² of person you want on your Board.

This is very much like the concept of defining your Ideal Client that we've talked about in previous articles. Do they need to have a sense of humor, have similar values, be active in your community or understand your industry? These are all important characteristics, over and above the experience they have in their field.

Once you've determined the type of person you want/need, you can designate the areas of expertise you would like to have represented.

Here are some ideas to get you started:
Marketing   
Sales/Distribution
Business Management
Public Speaking
Long-Term Planning
Spiritual Guidance
Finance   
Work/Life Balance
Information Technology

Legal Feel free to add any other areas that come to mind. In your day-to-day activities, be aware of thoughts like, "I wish I knew someone who is an expert in whom I could call."

Here are two additional questions you can ask yourself:

1) What core aspects of business are not my passions? (e.g. bookkeeping, filing, long-term planning, etc.)

2) Is there something new I'd like to explore, but need an expert's advice before moving forward? (e.g. internet marketing, writing a book, etc.)

My success is largely due to my willingness to ask for help and create a Board of Advisors. When I wanted to create audio products, but didn't know how, I hired an audio production expert and asked my financial board member to help me budget.

Whenever I find myself getting overwhelmed, I realize there is a new Board position I need to fill. It never fails to free up time, energy and motivation to move my business to the next level. Remember, Tiger Woods' first Board of Advisors member was (and still is) his father. Who in your life is waiting to be asked to join your Board so they can support your success? Ask them today.

Lisa Cherney is a Business Intuitive, Master Marketing Consultant and Founder of Conscious Marketing (TM). She saves businesses time and money by helping them find the perfect words and strategies to attract their Ideal Clients. For more info on her coaching and workshops, please visit www.ConsciousMarketing.com or call (888) 771-0156.

© 2008 Lisa Cherney


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