Are you wondering whether or not a business advisory board would provide a valuable return on your investment in the time and effort it takes to create and maintain the board? Gary Rago (pictured), director of the NJ Small Business Development Center at Rutgers University — Camden, says the answer is absolutely. “Each time I meet with my advisory board, I become a better business leader and manager, and I realize again the return on my investment,” he says. Here are five benefits Rago says you will recognize by creating an advisory board for your business.
1. Augmentation of Business Skill Sets. It is clear that in order to succeed, small business owners must possess business skills above and beyond the technical skills related to their product or service. It is very difficult for a business owner to be an expert in every business discipline, so selecting advisory board members that have expert skills that supplement your strengths allows the business to maximize its potential by creating a well-rounded management team.
2. Supplement Business Experiences. We learn best from our experiences, and we especially never forget hard lessons. If we are open to learning from the lessons of others, we can avoid making those time-consuming and costly errors by having the advice of board members that have “been there, done that.”
3. Valuable Sounding Board. It is rare that you will have an internal sounding board that shares an objective ownership perspective. In addition to providing you with an objective perspective on business issues, an advisory board can provide you with insight into your own tendencies and shortcomings (if you are willing to listen).
4. Business Generation. There is no business without customers and sales, and an advisory board can help in several ways. Board members can provide qualified leads, in many cases in the form of personal introductions and recommendations. Most business owners will tell you they expect much of their new business will come from referrals. The board relationships create more sales “at bats” for your business.
5. Business Intelligence. We can’t possibly read every business article, attend every relevant business conference, know about each new piece of business legislation or be immediately aware of a new competitor. There are constantly changing factors that will require us to make quick decisions and adjustments to our strategies. Being unaware of some critical change could be devastating to a business. Frequent contact with your board members will multiply the listening posts you can utilize to gather critical business intelligence. The old saying “knowledge is power” is as appropriate as ever.
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 1, Issue 12 (December, 2011).
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