Your business is expanding. It’s no longer just you sitting at your kitchen table with a laptop — you now have an office, employees, and a business plan with serious potential. Building a board of directors is an excellent way to make new connections, recruit mentors, and foster additional growth.
Here are a few tips for getting started:
- Fill a void. Maybe you’re a whiz at numbers, and you know exactly how to hit your target sales figures, but you need someone to help you attract new clients. A board member with marketing experience (and lots of contacts) could be just who you need. Likewise, if you’re a marketing guru but not so great at math, a board member with a financial focus could help things add up.
- Consider the role you want board members to play. You could build an advisory board to provide only feedback and advice regarding your business decisions. Or you could set up a formal board of directors with voting rights to give them more clout. Be prepared to pay for the latter: A Hewitt Associates study shows that the median board member annual compensation is $50,000, plus equity stake and meeting fees.
- Use a recruiter, if necessary. If you already have various influential business contacts, you may be able to recruit a board of directors from their ranks. However, hiring a recruiter who’s experienced in putting together boards may help save some time — and give you access to a wider network.
- Be transparent. Board members can only help you if you show them what’s really going on inside your company. If something isn’t going as planned, don’t gloss over it: Clearly outline your actions and their results, so that your board members can offer insight into what the problem may be.
- Be proactive. Most board members are owners or executives at other companies who will have limited time to assist your business. Make the most of their participation by creating clear agendas for board meetings. Give each member well-defined tasks that will help further your long-term goals, such as introducing you to other executives or analyzing your vendor selection.