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How to Develop a Successful Board of Advisors (...and Why You Should!)
In today's rapidly changing and highly competitive markets, many privately held companies are creating outside advisory boards to give owners and CEOs fresh, knowledgeable advice.
Analyze the strength and weaknesses of your current management team.
Look for critical areas of expertise and knowledge that your company could use help with such as marketing, legal, finance, eCommerce, and research and development or information technology. If your company is planning on going public within the next few years, seek out advisors who have successfully taken companies down that path.
Set clear, written goals and objectives for your board of advisors.
Getting maximum value from a board of advisors begins with clear objectives and goals. Board members must know why they have been asked to serve and what is expected of them.
Before establishing the board, the CEO and senior managers should sit down and ask some of the following questions:
1. What are the main areas we need advice and guidance in?
2. What specifically do we need the board members to do for us?
3. Who are a few potential candidates for board membership?
4. How do we avoid giving away too much control to outsiders?
5. What will be the powers and limitations of the board?
6. What will setting up the board cost initially? Annually? Will it be worth the cost?
Determine the size and structure of your board.
Advisory boards range in size from two members to over thirty. The right size depends on many factors, such as your company's size, complexity, stage of development and individual skills needed. My experience and research has found that for most small to mid-sized, growing companies or start-ups, a 5 to 7 member advisory board is an ideal size. Smaller firms can start with just one or two members and add new members as they grow.
Determining whom you invite to join your board is one of the most critical decisions in setting up a board of advisors. Often a business owner's first instinct is to ask friends, family members or professional advisors to sit on their board. This is usually a mistake. Unless your friend or family member is a recognized authority in an area of expertise lacking by your management team or a highly successful entrepreneur, they are probably not the wisest choice.
Another reason to avoid asking family or friends to join your board is lack of objectivity. Often advice from a friend, family member or management insider is sugar coated to protect relationships. An outside advisor can give you a much more objective and honest assessment of the situation.
Using professional advisors such as your lawyer, banker or accountant as board members has it's own pitfalls. These advisors are already working for you and may not be as objective as you need, due to having an interest in generating future business from your company.
Some critical action steps for recruiting a dynamite board of advisors are:
Board members expect and deserve to be compensated for their time, efforts and advice.
Typical advisory board compensation includes a stipend from $5,000 to $25,000 per member, per year. Some companies pay their board members per meeting, with payment ranging from $500 to $3,000 per meeting, with a monthly retainer of $500 to $2,500. Companies should also cover transportation, meals and lodging for members when attending meetings.
Most successful boards also give or require members to buy stock or some form of equity in the company. This gives the board members equity participation and a vested interest in the growth of the company.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Some potential problem areas to avoid when setting up or working with your advisory board are:
Periodically assessing the board's effectiveness is a critical factor in ensuring a good return on investment. Each year the board should set performance goals and define their criteria for success. At the end of the year the CEO and the board should assess it's performance, compared to its goals and criteria for success.
Over 80 percent of all private companies are operating without a board of advisors or board of directors. Odds are your competitors do not have one. Because of this, developing a board of advisors can give your company a distinct advantage over your competition. This is particularly true for start-ups and family run businesses.
There is tremendous value in receiving objective, knowledgeable advice from a board of advisors who share in the financial and equity growth of your business. I encourage you to begin recruiting your advisory board today!
Internationally recognized as a leading authority on eCommerce and website conversion, Eric Graham is the founder and CEO of several highly successful online and offline companies.
His services as a speaker, consultant and author are in high demand due to his knack for solving problems and significantly increasing the bottom line for his clients.
Eric may be available to serve on your Board of Advisors. For more details vist: http://www.web-site-evaluations.com/board-advisors.htm
Eric is also the publisher of the eCommerce Mastery newsletter. Visit http://www.web-site-evaluations.com/ecommerce-mastery.htm today to sign up for a free subscription.
2 Simple Steps Before Starting Your Business
There is so much small business information available today that it's easy to be bogged down by the sheer volume of it all. Where does one start? Well, it's safe to say not all the information you'll receive will be of equal value. So it's important to be discerning when you're thinking about applying any suggestions to your new business. In many cases, you'll find some suggestions don't match your business type, management style, budget, or industry. This could lead to wasted dollars spent and time lost. So learning how to research and compile information will be key in developing a plan that is tailored to fit your business needs.
The Best Entity to Hold Real Estate
Possibly THE most frequently asked question of me is "What is the best business entity to use for real-estate investments?" My recommendation to most people is that a limited liability company (an "LLC") is the best entity for this type of use. Here's why:
More Uses for Your Business Plan
You have invested a lot of time and energy on writing a business plan just to get a loan or to attract an investor. What do you do when you get the money or, worse, should you be turned down?
How To Kick Start Your Business And Double Your Profits
This will make some people angry as hell, but it's time to debunk the myth of 'Time Management' while sharing the real secret of the super successful.
Business Plans Keep You On The Success Course
Where would your business be without a proper plan? A business plan sets the direction for the future of the business. It gives the business owner or manager a sense of guidance, listing the goals and objectives of the business from the start.
Succession Planning: Problems Getting Started
A survey released by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in the spring of 2005 illustrates a widespread problem on the lack of succession planning [deciding who will take over running the firm when the current managers die or retire]. The survey found that 60% of responding certified public accountant (CPA) firms have owners who are in the 55-to-62-year-old age bracket, and more than half (56%) have at least one partner who will retire in the next five years. However, according to the survey, 81% of these firms still do not have a written succession plan in place. Among those firms with annual revenues under $150,000, the percentage rose to 96%. If we polled small businesses in other fields, the percentages would be comparable: around 80% of small business owners have no succession plans.
Fail to plan... or Plan to FAIL??
Running a business, whether it be an offline multi-billion dollar company or an online part time home business, they share many similar traits.
The Power of Planning
I am surprised how few sales professionals, independent consultants, and small business owners take the time to plan the strategy for their business. Most people spend more time writing out a grocery list or planning a vacation than they do planning the direction or outcome of their business. Many will determine a vague or general idea of what they want to accomplish but very few actually identify the specific action steps they will need to take in order to achieve their goals. I'm not suggesting you create a 25-30 page business plan like a good friend of mine writes every year, but I do recommend that you begin outlining the goals you want to accomplish and how you plan to get there.
How to Achieve E-commerce Success ?You Gotta Plan!
Before becoming a netpreneaur, I was an entrepreneur. First, I owned a successful child care center which grew to capacity in less than two years. When I sold that, I bought a little flower shop that had less than 300 customers and grew it to what it is today, one of the most successful, award winning companies in South Florida with more than 7,000 customers who purchase from us on a regular business. To better serve our customers, we took our business to the Internet. We still have a brick and mortar storefront, yet everyday we receive more and more customers via the Internet.
Expanding your business in a franchise system
If you are a successful franchise of a large franchise brand or chain, chances are you will wish to expand. The most important thing to do is make sure you are on the most positive terms with your franchisor. You should tell your franchisor at the earliest point of your plan to expand. It is important that you ask the franchisor for help when you are expanding. Growing your business is not an easy task. It requires systematic checks of your business. The kind of checks your car does electronically such as sensors telling you:
Three Easy Ways To Know Thy Competitor
"Did you hear what your competitor is doing?" This question has caused many business people to freeze in their tracks. How about you? Does your sales team know what your competitors are doing? And if a prospect was to ask them, "give me 10 unique reasons why I should buy from you and your company," could they answer this question without a pause? "Knowing thy competitor" is critical, and this article will outline three easy ways to know more about them, than they know about you! Let's get started!
Top Ten Traits of Strategic Thinkers
Want to become more strategic? Add these traits to your collection of skills and watch your success soar!
Why Do a Business Plan?
To Grow (Catapult) Your Business That's Why.
Getting Started with Succession Planning: Part II
Succession planning requires the owner of a small or medium-sized business to plan for what the company will look like and how it will operate after the transition to new owners is complete. Unless the owners have succession goals in mind, they won't achieve them. Once these goals are in place, the owners should backtrack and identify the process that will get the firm from its current status to the targeted status after succession. Some of the people involved in the process of transforming the company should be retained as future managers. Others are best utilized just for the transition but not in a managerial or ownership role after succession.
Strategic Planning Consulting
Strategic planning and consulting is the strategy roadmap to manage business very effectively. To improve the performance in each business level, business strategic planning & consulting is essential. We should draw a clear strategic planning model to dilute the business complexity. If the strategic planning models are clearly set it is easy to find the business solution.
ERP Role in Selling Your Mid-size Business ? Microsoft Great Plains and CRM Example
If you own the mid-size business and actively work in it as executive manager or lead, say marketing, ? you probably know exactly what needs to be done on the daily basis to keep it running. However, in many cases this business critical knowledge exists in your head only. This means that if you would like to sell your business ? it has little value without your participation. So, ahead of the selling time you should "formalize" the business ? to make it work within the systems and rules, independent of people. Let's consider the parts we will need.
Writing Your Business Plan is Actually Storytelling
Storytelling and writing a business plan actually go hand in hand. The same ingredients used in telling a story are also used in writing a business plan. Let's use the Executive Summary as an example.
Business Plan: Planning the Operations
Writing a business plan is no easy task, sure you can whip something together in a day or so, but without proper planning you are setting yourself up to fail. Many first time entrepreneurs have a bit of trouble writing a business plan, which will be acceptable to bankers and investors. One easy place to fall down on is the understanding of the daily operations of your chosen business model.
The Impact of Price Popularity on Profits
The goal of almost every business owner is to generate a profit either for themselves or their shareholders. This can be challenging at best. So much thought and effort go into running a business, accounts payable, accounts receivable, dealing with vendors, customers, etc. Because of this people sometimes do not focus on one of the most important factors- pricing. Knowing how much you can charge for your product or service is invaluable information. Businesses typically want to increase volume and prices at the same time. In a perfect world that would be easy to accomplish, yet we do not live in a perfect world. So just how do businesses go about deciding how much to charge for a product or service?
Planning For The Slow Season Of Your Business To Increase Sales
Every business experiences slower periods. For some, they sell more during the Christmas season while others move at a snail pace. Some sell more during the summer and others less. The key is being aware of your seasons and alternatives available to solve the challenge and change the results.
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