Many people think of advisory boards as just being used for big corporations, but the reality is that a small business will benefit from an advisory board as well. A board can let a small business owner keep control of their own business while getting valuable professional input from those who have expertise in the field. The best advisory board for a small business will be one that addresses these unique needs.
Especially when a small business is family-owned, it is tempting to select advisory board members who are friends or close family members. However, this is a problem because it keeps small businesses from getting the input of an unbiased observer. Often, close relatives and friends may avoid being blunt because they do not want to hurt the owner’s feelings. Selecting an advisor who is trusted without being emotionally or socially close to the business owner will ensure people get honest, direct advice.
Knowledge About Related Fields
Another need to consider when picking an advisory board is whether they can provide information that a business owner does not know. Though a small business owner may be an expert in their own field, they may not know much about related fields like international distribution, marketing, or e-commerce. This is where an advisory board can be especially helpful. Owners should carefully think about fields related to their business and try to find advisers who can fill these gaps in their knowledge.
Size of the Board
Though it is tempting to get as many advisers as possible, it is best to limit oneself when picking out advisers. For small businesses, the ideal board size is usually around three to five people. Having too many advisers can end up being overwhelming, and it is not necessary for most smaller businesses.
Small Business Insight
The best advisers will typically be those who know how to run a small business. Those who are too used to larger companies may not be able to adapt their strategies to fit a small business owner’s needs. A good place to find advisors may be checking with the government’s Small Business Administration or going to small business networking events.