If you are new to entrepreneurship, then you need to seriously consider having a Business Advisory Council. These are professionals chosen by you that are focused on the success of your business venture. This group brings to the table different business perspectives and experiences. Their wisdom and sage advice can improve your chances for success. How? Well, members of your Business Advisory Council should be able to point out areas of weakness and know how to turn those weaknesses into strengths. They should be knowledgeable about your industry’s trends, and how to keep your business on the right track.
Who should be in your Business Advisory Council?
Members should be able to give you sound business advice because of their areas of expertise. Some experts think that if you need an Advisory Council because the particulars of running a business might not be your strength, you should start with a legal advisor, an accountant, a marketing expert, a human resources expert, as well as a financial advisor. Only those pertinent to your business should be considered, like:
- A lawyer if you need protection for legal issues,
- An accountant to advise you how to best handle money (and is up to date on tax laws),
- A banker for financial and investor issues,
- An insurance agent to provide appropriate coverage to protect your business,
- A marketing expert to get your product or service out there,
- A business strategist if you have a complex business model,
- A professor, especially one pivotal to your business’s beginnings,
- A human resources expert for how to best handle staffing issues,
- A field expert who has an edge on your industry’s trends,
- Most importantly, a successful serial entrepreneur. This is someone who has started, grown and sold several businesses and can provide guidance on how to run a business and take it all the way to the exit.
The beauty of an Advisory Council is that you can make changes when you see fit.
The beauty of an Advisory Council is that you can make changes when you see fit. If you find that you didn’t choose well and an advisor has become more of a hindrance than a help, you can just switch out that advisor for a new one. A Business Advisory Council is different than your Board of Directors. Changes to the Board of Directors are more challenging as these roles are formal and appointments need to be approved by the rest of the Board. It’s to your advantage to simply have an Advisory Council until your business has grown large enough to need a formal Board of Directors.
Your business needs dictate the expertise that would benefit you the most. Be selective. Don’t worry about asking if someone would be on your Council, because the worst case scenario would simply be, “No”, but the flattery to being asked would still remain. Best case scenario would be they accept your invitation, and you make the most of their advice.
Maybe you think that this business thing is easy. Maybe you don’t. Either way, when you have experts on your side, ready to lend a hand, it’s important to take advantage of their knowledge. They see your business from different perspectives, with various experiences to draw on, so they might be able to steer you away from rough waters before you tumble into them.
They could even prompt you to move into rough waters because they know you’ll be better for it. For example, negotiating tactics can get the best of even the most savvy business professional. From the inside, it’s easy to fall for one of these tricks when negotiating a licensing arrangement or resolving a patent issue, even negotiating a new arrangement with a supplier, manufacturer, or customer.
A seasoned business advisor can look at the situation as an outsider and help you win the negotiation. And with their navigational skills, you might even find yourself floating down stream, gently enjoying your small victory. Consider your Business Advisory Council your life raft, complete with reserve supplies, maps, and safety gear.