Seven Principles for an Effective Advisory Board

  1. Be practical. When choosing and maintaining your advisory board, make sure you are making practical choices that are relevant to your business or industry. Conversations that stray from the purpose of the board will not be very effective or useful for your company’s success.
  2. Be versatile. Consider ideas and contributions from a variety of professionals. As commendable as it is to have an array of strengths, it is impossible for one person to know and do it all, especially when it comes to business.
  3. Be receptive. Be open minded to ideas and suggestions from folks who have been in your situation. Listen and learn from others’ mistakes. Take note and inspiration from their success. Learn from their mistakes. A successful board depends on the ability to compromise and collaborate.
  4. Think outside of the box. Running a successful business definitely requires structure and systemization, but sometimes the key to new accomplishments is creativity and ingenuity. Be willing to take a few risks, try new things, and experiment with innovative concepts. After all, you’ll never know unless you try.
  5. Keep the lines of communication open. Be sure that you are regularly communicating with your advisory board members even outside of regularly scheduled meetings. Keep them up to speed on your progress or advancements. Be transparent and honest about aspects of your business that are not exceling.
  6. Be prepared and organized. Create a timeline, goals, appropriate materials and so forth that will help your team stay focused and on track. Failure to approach the board with a strategy often leaves the door open for deviation and divergence from the purpose of the board.
  7. Establish clear differentiation between business and social endeavors. It’s ok to be friends with board members outside of the business aspect, but only on the grounds that you can maintain professionalism and purpose when addressing the needs of the company. If you have a hard time separating the two, it is probably best to avoid close or intimate relationships within this setting.