Sometimes the best way to grow up is to act like the big kids you admire. The same holds true in business. As an owner, you should consider the benefits of advisory boards and the benefits of fractional CXOs for small and mid-size companies.
It may seem counterintuitive for smaller companies to build an (expensive!) C-Level team and an advisory board. However, it’s crucial to begin as you continue on your journey as an entrepreneur.
The explosion of a gig economy has opened doors for any size businesses to obtain the consulting services you need. Expertise, experience, leadership, and strategy are yours from a growing number of fractional executives and strong advisory boards.
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Assemble Your Team of Truth-Tellers
Of course, you can run your company. You bootstrapped through your start-up, hung in there through uncertain times, and pivoted so much you wondered if your head may fall off.
Yet, we all have a unique complement of strengths and challenges, and there are only 24 hours in each day. Working too much IN your business as a CEO is a recipe for burnout, micromanagement, and stunted growth.
On the flip side, explosive growth, when you’re not prepared for it, is equally damaging to a company’s employees, leadership, and reputation.
Elevating your organization to the next level takes more than just you. What you need is a team of people who have complementary strengths and who will tell you the truth–whether it’s celebratory OR excruciating.
Further, creating an advisory board and C-Suite of outsourced executives while you’re still in a growth curve sets a strong foundation for success you can handle as you scale your business.
Who Should Serve on Your Advisory Board?
One massive benefit of creating an advisory board is choosing experienced professionals for their leadership roles. Selecting a targeted group of talented people with strengths you lack adds a fresh perspective to ongoing challenges.
This group should get you over the various “humps” of business expansion. With their input and advice, they can help you avoid significant crises along the way.
Most of all, they should help you keep a level head in the decisions you make, maintaining a proactive stance over a reactive one.
Consider recruiting a financial expert, a human resources expert, a marketing expert, and an operations expert to serve on your advisory board. Get to know your candidates outside of work. The golf course, drinks, or lunches can help you get a feel for how your personalities will blend.
Clarify Your Advisory Board Expectations
When assembling your advisory board, be clear about how long you want each member to serve. Have prepared the time investment you want from each member and the goals you want them to help you achieve during each term.
You’ll also need to budget compensation for your board members, either in payment or equity. Many board members get paid for their meeting time only or receive a monthly retainer for serving in an “on-call” capacity.
Benefits of Fractional CXOs: a Fraction of the Cost
Though many small and mid-size companies cannot afford the six-figure salaries many executives command, fractional CXOs are accessible.
This sort of experienced leadership is affordable, especially when you don’t need a full-time executive. For example, you can hire a Fractional executive for strategy, implementation, and guidance in the following areas:
- Audits and budget season
- Seasonal sales campaigns
- Audience growth and engagement
- Branding pivots or expansions
- Strategic recruiting and hiring
- General operations
- Efficiency and logistics optimization
- Interim executive roles
Be Clear About Your Executive Needs and Goals
Similar to choosing your advisory board members, choosing any old executive will not do it for your company. When you’re clear about the type, term, and intensity of the executive support you want, retaining experienced leadership becomes easier and can even be fun.
At their best, your fractional CXO relationships should feel synergistic. A sense of triumphant energy is common when you click well with your C-Suite team.
You’re using their skills at their best and most focused, and they get the reward of helping you grow by doing what they love. When you invest as robustly as you can in this laser-focused leadership, everyone wins.
So, clarify what you can afford to pay your fractional CXOs, and communicate openly about what you want them to do for the investment you can make.
Of course, fractional executives will have rates and packages from which to choose. You can likely negotiate service pricing depending on the volume and scope of work you want to have done.
Rotate Your Fractional Executives
Another benefit of fractional CXOs is the ability to use only whom you need when you need them. If your significant sales cycles offset your financial cycles, you could rotate a Fractional Marketing Officer with a Fractional Financial Officer when the timing is appropriate.
Further, you can contract with these experienced leaders year in and year out, gaining the benefit of their experience for the projects and challenges at hand. There’s no idle time for a fractional executive–you get every penny you spend back in expertise and implementation.
Finding fractional executives with whom you click well can mean mutually rewarding professional relationships for years to come. Plus, these skilled leaders can also connect you with other powerful influencers and guides in your industry.
Hiring a fractional CXO gets you all of the benefits of experienced C-suite leadership without the debilitating cost.
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