Does a small business need an advisory committee?
Absolutely, say most experts in the arena – and it’s just as important for a solo entrepreneur as it is for a company with 20 existing employees.
An advisory board not only provides a group of mentors in similar fields, it can promote faster growth and simply, make your company look good with that list of important people on your website.
Following are a few tips gathered from various small business sources and advisors themselves:
1. Define your advisory board member profiles. This is a list of skills and connections you want advisors to have.
2. Determine your expectations of each adviser. For some advisers, you will be happy just to have their name on your Web site.
3. Create your pitch. Ask yourself: Why should someone become an adviser to you? What's in it for them? Do you have a lot of contacts, or an interesting business they’d like to be associated with?
4. Brainstorm your target list. Think about it carefully, then ask your friends, colleagues, mentors, vendors, and financiers if they know people who meet the profile you need.
5. Seek out your targeted advisers and recruit them. Perhaps they're scheduled to speak on panels, at bookstores, at a conference.
And of course incorporate members into your company's marketing materials. Add their names and bios to your web site and LinkedIn profile, and keep them updated often.
It may seem like obvious information for some, but too often entrepreneurs prefer to “go it alone” as in completely alone.
Also, the experience of forming your own advisory board will give you insight if you decide to join one yourself someday.
Published at 5:16 PM CDT on Jun 14, 2011