When you start a new business, you often hear that you should have a Board of Directors, or at the very least an Advisory Board of experienced people who can help you grow your business. But how do you go about finding the right people and then asking them to be a part of your board?
Before you get started you need to give some thought as to why you want an advisory board and what types of people you need on your board. Also think about how often you should meet, for how long, and how you will compensate your board.
Many people enjoy being on boards for a variety of reasons. Some enjoy giving back to others who are getting started, while others may have a vested interest in your business (such as your accountant), so they may view serving on your board as a way to increase the chances that you'll succeed.
Compensation may involve giving each board member a fee for the meetings they attend, or simply paying for their dinner. For a cleaning business just getting started, paying for dinner will probably suffice.
One thing you need to keep in mind if you decide to have an Advisory Board, is to take it seriously and to take the advice given to you seriously. People want to know that their advice is being considered and they want feedback if you've taken their advice and put a plan into action. They need to know that their time has been well-spent, and that means letting them know the action steps you're taking and the results of taking action.
Also have a plan for each meeting - your advisors won't stick around long if you don't have a plan and specific questions for what you're trying to accomplish.
Who do you ask to be on your board? Start with your accountant, attorney, banker and insurance agent. They know your company best and would make good partners for your board. Next start asking everyone you know about contacts they may have that would fit your needs. Networking groups and Chambers of Commerce are also good resources for searching for prospective board members.
If you have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board, please click on the Comments link below to share your story of how you chose your board and how it's working for you.