Does your franchise company have an advisory board?
If it does (and you have the right people), then you know how much of a positive impact it can have on your business. In fact, with over 45 total years of board service under my belt (and counting), I can say with certainty that of all the things you can do to benefit your growing business, setting up an advisory board is one thing that will have a big impact over time.
The reason is this: it goes beyond any one individual and is set up to help the organization as a whole. Also, it has staying power - my average board service is over 8 years!
Over the years, your business advisory board will give you consistent feedback that is specific to your business. The attention is focused and the members are qualified professionals that you know and trust. This allows for a structured, deep dive into the real issues in the business that will help you plan for the future and create a better decision-making environment. It can also provide appropriate accountability to the degree that it’s desired and valued.
Who Should Have a Board?
If you have a business that has employees and customers - and you’re really growing - having a board of advisors makes a lot of sense. And if your company is worth a few million or more, I’d say it’s almost a necessity, as it’s a low risk and high value opportunity for you as the owner.
It might cost you $10,000 to set up and maybe another $20,000 annually to operate, but the value it provides in protecting your business is well worth the investment. It’s a disaster plan, a succession plan, an emergency plan, and so much more:
- The discipline of preparation: the process of preparing for each meeting in advance is incredibly valuable, as it allows for critical information about the organization to be evaluated on a regular basis.
- Increased credibility: just having an advisory board can go a long way towards giving your organization increased legitimacy in the marketplace.
- A bigger network: Your network increases dramatically through your advisory board – after all, your reach isn’t JUST the board members, it’s everyone the board knows.
- A focus on the future: While you’re busy managing the day-to-day operations for your business, your advisory board can look out for your best interests by remaining focused on the future.
- Someone to blame: The simple statement of, “the board made me do it...” (whether it’s true or not), can help remove some pressure or hard feelings and deflect blame to a third party they’ll never meet.
- More efficient: Instead of scheduling five different phone calls at five different times, your advisory board allows you to gather all of your most trusted resources in one room for a focused and collaborative discussion about your organization and problem solving.
- Develop your staff: Asking key employees to make presentations to the board can be a great way to develop your staff and see who is ready for leadership.
A real advisory board that is well organized and has the right structure can make all the difference to both the business owner and the entire organization. Having done this work many times for many business owners, I’m glad to share my experience and approach. If you have questions about setting up a board, or would like some help getting started, please reach out! I’m always happy to help.