Create an Advisory Board to Boost Your Business in 12 Easy Steps

Running a business is challenging, and entrepreneurs often face difficult decisions and situations that require expertise beyond their own. This is where an advisory board can be a valuable resource. In this guide, we'll explore what an advisory board is, why you might consider creating one for your business, and how to get started.

An advisory board is a group of experts who provide guidance and advice to a business owner or executive team. Unlike a board of directors, an advisory board does not have decision-making authority, but instead serves as a sounding board and source of expertise. Advisory board members can provide insights and perspectives on a range of topics, including strategy, operations, marketing, finance, and more.
Why Create an Advisory Board for Your Business?
There are several benefits to creating an advisory board for your business:
1. Access to Expertise
An advisory board provides access to a diverse group of experts who can provide valuable insights and perspectives on a range of topics.
2. Increased Credibility
Having an advisory board can increase your business's credibility and reputation, as it shows that you value outside perspectives and are committed to making informed decisions.
3. Improved Decision-Making
With access to expert advice, you can make more informed decisions that are grounded in a deeper understanding of your business and its industry.
4. Increased Accountability
An advisory board can hold you accountable to your goals and help keep you focused on your business's priorities.
5. Networking Opportunities
An advisory board can also provide valuable networking opportunities, as members may have connections to potential partners, investors, or customers.
How to Create an Advisory Board for Your Business?
Here are the steps to follow when creating an advisory board for your business:
Step 1: Define the Purpose and Goals of Your Advisory Board
The first step in creating an advisory board is to define the purpose and goals of the board. Consider what areas of your business you need advice and guidance on. Do you need help with strategy, finance, marketing, or something else? Once you have a clear understanding of what you need help with, you can start to identify the expertise and experience you need on your advisory board.
Step 2: Identify Potential Advisory Board Members
Once you have defined the purpose and goals of your advisory board, you can start to identify potential members. Look for people who have experience and expertise in the areas you need help with. Consider people from a variety of backgrounds and industries, as well as people who have experience working with businesses of your size and in your industry.
Step 3: Determine the Size of Your Advisory Board
The size of your advisory board will depend on the needs of your business. Generally, advisory boards are composed of 3 to 12 members. Keep in mind that a larger advisory board may be more difficult to manage, and may also be less effective.
Step 4: Set Expectations and Responsibilities for Advisory Board Members
It is important to set clear expectations and responsibilities for your advisory board members. This includes defining the scope of their responsibilities, how often they will meet, and what is expected of them in terms of attendance and participation.
Step 5: Define the Structure and Governance of Your Advisory Board
The structure and governance of your advisory board should be clearly defined. This includes determining how often the board will meet, who will chair the meetings, and how decisions will be made. You should also establish a clear process for adding and removing members from the advisory board.
Step 6: Develop an Agenda and Plan for Your First Advisory Board Meeting
Before your first advisory board meeting, you should develop an agenda and plan for the meeting. This should include an overview of the purpose and goals of the advisory board, as well as an introduction of the advisory board members. You should also discuss the scope of the advisory board's responsibilities and establish a schedule for future meetings.
Step 7: Hold Regular Advisory Board Meetings
To get the most benefit from your advisory board, it is important to hold regular meetings. This will give you the opportunity to get input and advice on important business decisions. It is also important to create a culture of open communication and trust, so that advisory board members feel comfortable sharing their opinions and advice.
Step 8: Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your Advisory Board
Periodically, it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of your advisory board. This includes assessing whether the board is meeting its goals, whether the members are providing valuable advice and guidance, and whether changes need to be made to the structure or governance of the board.
Step 9: Define the Responsibilities of the Advisory Board
Once you have identified the members of your advisory board, you need to define their responsibilities. Advisory board responsibilities can vary depending on the nature of your business and your specific needs, but generally include:

- Providing guidance and advice on strategic planning and decision-making.
- Providing insight into industry trends, competitive landscapes, and emerging opportunities.
- Helping to identify and assess potential risks and challenges.
- Offering advice on financial management, including budgeting, fundraising, and investment decisions.
- Providing input on marketing and sales strategies.
- Offering advice on human resources and talent management, including recruiting, retention, and performance management.
- Helping to identify potential partnerships and collaboration opportunities.
- Acting as ambassadors for your business, helping to promote your brand and mission to stakeholders and the wider community.

It is important to define the responsibilities of your advisory board clearly to ensure that everyone understands their role and what is expected of them. This can help to prevent misunderstandings and ensure that the advisory board is functioning effectively.
Step 10: Establish Clear Communication Channels
Once you have created your advisory board and defined their responsibilities, you need to establish clear communication channels. This includes setting up regular meetings and defining how information will be shared between the board and your business.

Regular meetings are essential for keeping your advisory board engaged and informed. Depending on your business needs and the availability of your board members, meetings can be held monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually. You should also define how meetings will be held, whether in-person, over the phone, or via video conferencing.

In addition to regular meetings, you should also establish channels for ongoing communication. This could include regular email updates, conference calls, or an online forum where board members can share ideas and discuss issues.
Step 11: Define the Role of the Advisory Board Chair
The chair of your advisory board will play a critical role in ensuring that the board is functioning effectively. The chair should be responsible for:

- Setting the agenda for meetings and ensuring that they run smoothly.
- Facilitating discussion and ensuring that all board members have the opportunity to participate.
- Ensuring that decisions are made in a timely manner and that follow-up actions are taken.
- Acting as a liaison between the board and your business, communicating any issues or concerns that arise.
- Providing guidance and support to board members as needed.

When selecting your advisory board chair, it is important to choose someone who has strong leadership skills, is highly organized, and is able to build relationships effectively.
Step 12: Evaluate and Refine the Advisory Board
Finally, it is important to evaluate and refine your advisory board over time. This can help to ensure that the board is functioning effectively and that it is meeting the needs of your business.

Evaluation can be done through surveys, feedback sessions, or formal evaluations conducted by an external consultant. This can help to identify areas where the advisory board is functioning well, as well as areas where improvements could be made.

Based on the results of your evaluation, you may need to make changes to the composition of the board, the responsibilities of board members, or the frequency of meetings. This process should be ongoing to ensure that your advisory board is always serving your business needs effectively.

Creating an advisory board can be a valuable step for any business looking to gain additional insight and support in achieving its goals. By following these steps, you can create an advisory board that is tailored to your business needs and that is able to provide guidance and support as needed. With the right advisory board in place, you can tap into the expertise of experienced professionals and gain valuable insights that can help to drive your business forward.
Related Guides