You know everything? Do you know everyone? Do you have strengths and weaknesses? I assume that your answers to these three questions are “No, no, and well, yes”, in the order of the questions, as they were posed. If you are contemplating starting a business, gleefully working your way toward what you hope to be business success, you may need to reconsider your own human limitations. You may want to seriously consider hiring an advisory board.
Who should become a member of your advisory council?
That is difficult and easy. The hard part is that you probably already have members on your advisory council, but neither you nor they can be aware of their membership. Other important people, parents, friends and other people who are part of your life tend to give you advice, sometimes, whether you want it or not. Are these people good advisory board members for your business? Maybe! Maybe not.
Suppose we take the example of a spouse or partner. Talking too often can take a toll on your relationship. If your relationship starts to suffer because you can’t quit your job at work and make time for the personal part of your relationship, maybe you should set some boundaries and put down your struggles, aches, headaches, and complaints at work. If you are enjoying success, share it. If you work at home, leave all those other negative things in your home office. Adopt an attitude similar to that of insurance companies who suggest, “I don’t want to be a burden to my family.”
As much as you can, you need to leave the burden of the office behind and take proper care of yourself as well. Turn off your cell phone, put the laptop screen down, close the office door behind you when you leave, and clear your head every now and then.
Some personal relationships are strengthened with a great deal of bonding. If that’s the way yours works, and you trust the “instincts,” insight, and abilities of someone close to you (in relation to the direction of your business), then consider adding this person to your advisory council. . However, you may want to have a clearly established set of protocols to ensure that this arrangement works. While it’s not exactly the same thing, it should serve as a warning to anyone that it’s not unusual for friendships and other close relationships to turn into business partnerships, only to later unravel.
In outlining the above, certain things should have become obvious: You need to establish criteria for the selection and retention of advisory council members. In particular, individually, one must have skills, knowledge and insights that serve to strengthen you, the counselee. The relationship should generate objective advice, which you may or may not adopt, without resentment from anyone.
You also need to take a holistic view of the composition of the entire board – there must be balance. I especially like to mention that there is also a place for non-experts in a meeting. Some of the greatest insights of all come from people innocently asking what “experts” might consider naive questions. “Why are you doing it this way?” Every now and then, that person who knows no better may ask a question that puzzles the experts or causes them to produce a very poor answer in an era of rapid change, which we now face. That bad response is usually something like, “Because that’s how we’ve always done it.” (Baaawoooonk – game show loser. Wrong answer).
Recruitment strategies that work.
Have you ever heard of the WIFM proposal? “What’s in there for me?” That’s the question you should be prepared to answer as you craft your message to potential advisory members and determine who those members might be. The question I would ask is this: “Who could benefit from being on my advice while helping me?” Let’s take the example of a website or other marketing communications material – it would be nice if you provided some public recognition to your advisory board member in your outgoing messages, so that they generate visibility and benefit that person’s efforts. Yes, it is an eye for an eye. Be attentive to the other person’s needs and interests!
Don’t forget to share. Do you remember that from kindergarten? You need to be prepared to give as well as to receive. Don’t ask people to be a member of your advisory council if they are too listless or too busy to spend a little time helping others. Don’t be one-sided in your dealings with other people. Also, it doesn’t have to be the same small group of people. In other words, if you would kindly sit down in a few forums and contribute your skills and knowledge, the adage “What happens, comes around” will probably apply to you. It may be a different group of people, other than those you met through the boards you are a part of, who are on your own advisory board. Okay, just think about the expanded network you will have.
Advisory council logistics
Don’t be a burden on your board. Too many meetings become very unproductive. Too much communication becomes an imposition. Keep the obligations of the advisory board simplified, simple, and convenient; Meetings should be limited in frequency and duration, mutually beneficial and enjoyable, while addressing the “nuts and bolts” of the counseling tasks in question. If you have the budget, you may consider holding an annual meeting in pleasant surroundings. If you can’t afford it, is it because you were so busy with startup that you didn’t foresee the need for such a board or meetings? This is called thinking small. Think big.
Stay connected and competent
If you don’t provide your own nurturing and development, and that of your business, it probably won’t happen at all. As a related aside, I find that many business plans often do not address professional development and the entrepreneur’s need to stay informed and informed. If you haven’t accounted for your own industry’s number one and number two annual conferences, some seminars and continuing education, some workshops, and lots of books and periodicals, you are cheating your company out of what should be one of your main assets. : your competence and connection as a leader.
Simply put, you must stay connected and informed to be effective. An advisory board is a great way to address many aspects of this requirement. You must complement and compensate for your human weaknesses and limitations with the help of others, and be sure to reciprocate.