Here’s one side of the coin:
Many businesses significantly benefit from the input, suggestions, and professional advice of outside sources, but what is the best way to go about choosing which types of advice will be the most profitable and effective in terms of growth and success? How do you go about choosing between an executive or customer based advisory board?
In order to gather customers that are willing to participate as an advisory board member, the company must generally be established and drawing enough regular business that warrants loyalty from their customers. Fresh start-ups and businesses in the planning process lack access to this pool of potential members.
Secondly, customer-based participation is more likely to consist of biased input – after all, few unsatisfied customers are likely to participate at all, much less provide neutral suggestions that will be most effective for optimizing operations.
Finally, depending on the specific industry for which you are offering products and/or services, finding a variety of different experts within your customer base might be challenging. An effective early stage advisory board will include professional and experienced input from all, or at least most, aspects of business operations: finance, sales, marketing, customer service etc. Although customer advisory boards will most likely help to optimize relations with future clients, they often lack insight for the structural and operative aspects of running the business on the back end.
After all, a successful business is a combination of healthy and practical management combined with effective customer relations and quality service. An executive advisory board offers a variety of professional expertise that touches on all the necessary components of a profitable company, rather than just a select few. It is also a better choice for start-up companies who have yet to develop a vast customer base. Not to mention, outside opinions are usually less biased.
If you are in the process of developing an advisory board for your company, be sure to gather members that can offer insight and advice for every aspect of your enterprise. An executive advisory board creates the most bang for the buck in early stage companies.
Stay tuned for the other side of the coin: When a Customer Advisory Board Makes The Most Sense.