Running a business requires diverse experience, skills, and knowledge. One individual can’t do it all. How do you fill all those roles in a way that helps the company grow to its full potential?
The solution? An advisory board. With an advisory board, you can have the support of a talented, experienced team. It expands your business’s skill set and gives you a sounding board for advice — just like the name says.
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First, Rethink the Role of the Advisory Board
An advisory board is there to — surprise! — advise you on the best path for your business. The size can vary, as can the frequency and style of meetings. Basically, you can adapt your advisory board so that it works for your business culture and needs.
Usually, an advisory board is a source of expertise and guidance for the owner or CEO of the business. They might assume a mentor-like role. Your advisors may be more involved in certain aspects of the company, based on their skills, experience, and desire.
Above all, your advisory board should be a source of business insight for you. Choose a group of vested and engaged individuals who can help you think through different business decisions.
So you’re convinced you need an Advisory Board, and you’re ready to jump right in! The wheels are already turning. You’re thinking about the kinds of people you want on your advisory board: a CEO, a CFO, a VP of Marketing.
Shift your thinking: Instead of thinking about the position of the person, think about the person in the position.
In other words, don’t worry about filling your board with the executive roles you find in a Fortune 500 company. Think more about the people you know who could provide valuable business insight to your company — no matter their “label.”
Of course, the experience of the individual seated on your advisory board is important. However, what’s even more important is one’s ability to use past failures and successes in business to help your business. That’s why the advisory board is there—to help you grow.
Who do you want on your advisory board?
Now that you’re thinking about the advisory board from a new perspective, it’s time to start building your board. As with most things in life, balance is key here. You want to curate a team of people with diverse experiences and assets.
Let’s use some inspiration from nature while thinking about the types of people that can help your business. Please keep reading for our best bird analogies for your advisory board!
The Hummingbird (Gathering and Sharing)
This board member is someone with laser focus and narrow market understanding. The hummingbird has an extremely high metabolism, which leads to a great deal of energy. This individual should have no problem absorbing great amounts of information, knowledge, and wisdom to share with others.
The bottom line: This advisor is out in the community, gathering, and sharing information.
The Blue Jay (Accountability)
Tough, feisty, and hard-nosed, the blue jay keeps everyone moving toward their goals. This one maintains the pecking order and hierarchy. Accountability is a strong suit of this individual, with high precision in decision-making and exceptional persistence on tasks.
The bottom line: This advisor can make tough decisions and hold people accountable.
The Owl (Outside the Box)
Most species of owls are nocturnal. They have powerful hearing and are key observers. Owls are alert at a different time—compared to other birds—and hunt with different senses. Likewise, this individual will pick up on smaller nuances in the team or market that others might not recognize.
The bottom line: This advisor is an out-of-the-box thinker who occupies a different niche.
The Great Blue Heron (Efficient)
Not overly common, expert hunter, and stealthy — that’s the great blue heron. The great blue heron only sticks out its neck if there’s a high probability of success. This individual is specialized and confident in their success rate.
The bottom line: This advisor is precise and hits the mark… often.
The Eagle (Strategic Vision)
The eagle has a strategic mind and a strong vision, and it sees everything from above. Eagles have the ultimate “bird’s eye view”.
They identify opportunities from a myriad of possibilities, many of which others simply can’t see. This individual represents a local business from a macro perspective. They are opportunistic, with a high level of strategic vision.
The bottom line: This advisor can see the broader picture and respond to the minute details.
It’s All About the Individual
If you’re looking to scale your business, this is our advice: build an advisory board with the above key personalities. Using bird types may sound like an abstract idea. But removing the strictness of one’s title and focusing on what the individual can provide is extremely important.
Finding the right people to guide your growth is key. However, it can be the most challenging part to execute.
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