What is an advisory board, anyway?
An advisory board is “a group of individuals who’ve been selected to help advise a business owner regarding any number of business issues, including marketing, sales, financing, expansion and so on; a body that advises the the board of directors and management of a corporation but does not have authority to vote on corporate matters."
This can be especially beneficial to smaller companies who don’t want to release control to a board of directors, but still obtain the benefits to having the advice of many experts on hand.
Since advisory boards are outside agencies and are not invested in your business, they can give unbiased advice that can help your company progress. Members of an advisory board can be diverse - anywhere from marketers, lawyers, designers, architects, and more - they can be any industry expert who can give educated advice from an outside perspective.
Despite the depth of knowledge and expertise that an advisory board can offer, surprisingly few Canadians use them. “Only a meagre 6% of Canadian entrepreneurs have an advisory board for their business…However, 86% of entrepreneurs who have an advisory board say it’s had a significant impact on their business.” explains a BDC article.
My guess is that many businesses aren’t aware of the many benefits to having an advisory board, or that they aren’t quite sure on how to get one involved with their company.
So is it hard to set up an advisory board? BDC doesn’t think so. In their article How an advisory board can boost your business, they give advice that can help get the process underway, including asking your accountant or lawyer to refer potential candidates, and advising entrepreneurs to meet with their board on a monthly or quarterly basis. Many board members are uncompensated, or receive only meals or honorariums, making this an affordable option for many small or mid-sized organizations.
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