How to set up a Board of Advisors for a small 10 person consulting company?
We're thinking about setting up a Board of Advisors to help achieve our business development goals. Does anyone have advice on this, or experience they'd like to share?
Barry, typically you want to have business people that can help your business as your advisors. For example if you will need legal advice one of your board members would be a lawyer specializing in your business field. You may also want someone in marketing and finance (CPA). You do this so you can get these service donated or in gratis. Most make the mistake of getting their best friend, uncle or other family member to be board members because that seems to be the easiest answer.
Think about who could really help you advance your business goals. Don't be afraid to go outside your network either. Local Chamber of Commerce's are great resources to find like minded business people.
Hope this helps some.
You should select a professional accountant and a lawyer who focus on your type of business and they should be part of your advisory group along with professionals who have a strong track record in your line of business from marketing and sales.
There are a few things you need to consider.
1) What do you really want to accomplish with your board of advisors? You mentioned you want help achieving your business development goals. What does that really mean? Do you want help selling or do you want guidance on how best to grow your business? Make sure you're not confusing what a consultant would do with what a board of advisors would do. Don't expect your board of advisors to be consultants to your business or an augmentation of your sales force. They will most likely do a little or each, but you shouldn't expect them to fill all your needs.
2) Determine precisely what areas of expertise you wish to have your board represent. Some examples include: strategy, HR, legal, finance, industry expertise, etc. Make sure you have a well-rounded board that includes the expertise you feel you need the most.
3) Realize that you're going to have to pay them for their time. Most people who are worth their salt will not sit on a board of advisors without some form of compensation for their time.
4) Have at least some members who have experience being on a board (of advisors or directors). You don't want all rookies.
5) Write a charter that outlines the roles, responsibilities and expectations for board members. Have a plan for terms and turnover, as well as performance management.
I hope this is helpful. I'm sure the rest of this community will have additional thoughts.