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The Benefits of Advisory Boards for Small Businesses

Small business owners wear a lot of hats, often acting as chief executive, financial, information and tech officers all rolled up into one. But at the end of the day, you’re just one person, and the path to success is far easier with strength in numbers. That’s where advisory boards come in.

Even the most multi-talented of small business owners can’t master every last aspect of running a company – there simply isn’t enough time. And even the brightest and most astute entrepreneurs have to admit that sometimes it pays to have the insights that different points of view can provide.

Advisory boards can provide that, and much more, without ceding the decision-making powers like you do with a formal board of directions. An advisory board is simply a group of trusted professionals, colleagues, friends and family that can help you at a number of crossroads as you build your business.

The following are a few of the benefits of putting together your own advisory board:

  • Specialized insights: Let’s say you’re a baker, and your shop has only been open for a year. You’re probably well-versed in breads, cakes and pies, but not necessarily accounting, supply chains or business expansion. So it can be helpful to build an advisory board that includes people familiar with things such as human resources, marketing, finance, and municipal rules and regulations. Experts in these areas can provide invaluable insights that can help you anticipate problems before they appear, and deal more quickly with life’s little surprises when they can’t be prevented.
  • The Idea Balloon: Part and parcel with those insights is the ability to take an idea from good to great. Advisory boards are the perfect place to bounce around ideas, whether it’s about new products, marketing campaigns, document organization or even employee morale. It’s difficult to fully flesh out ideas on our own when you have so many day-to-day responsibilities to address. But if you discuss your ideas with other people who have varied experiences, they can speed up the process and augment your ideas with perspectives that you might not have.
  • No “Yes” Men: You might find that if you tap people within your own organization for opinions, they’re almost suspiciously agreeable. But we all know that few people are willing to say “no” to the boss. Advisory boards stocked with people outside the chain of command are much more likely to give you their frank, impartial views for the betterment of your business.
  • Branching Out: Taking a walk outside your bubble and inviting the opinions of people you might normally not have associated with is a good way to make important business connections that could be useful down the road – whether it’s future partners, potential customers or just people who will be willing to help when you need it.

But how do you find people to serve on your advisory board?

As simple as it sounds, you can start by considering people within your circle of friends, if they have the necessary experience. You can also tap those people for referrals. Past that, you can seek out people on LinkedIn and other recruiting sites; many people aren’t just looking for jobs there, but also important business connections.

There’s also Score.org, a site dedicated to assisting small businesses, including an expansive search system that helps connect owners with mentors.

And if you want expertise in the financial arena, you can always turn to us! We offer several services to small and midsize businesses, including a wide range of consulting services for tax planning, strategy and recruiting, as well as mergers & acquisitions assistance. We can even help you take your office paperless.

Several heads really are better than one. If you want to take the next steps toward building out your business brain trust, call McManamon & Co. at 440.892.8900 or contact us online.

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