In today’s workplace, whether you are just jumping in, rising to the top or at the helm, there are key relationships that champion or consolidate our journey.
These relationships are key to aid in navigating each maze with authority and humanity. In this article, we will assess each relationship. We will determine their benefits, how to cultivate them and most importantly how to grow them for mutual benefit.
There are 4 types of relationships we will assess. These relationships are:
- The Mentor Relationship
- The Sponsor Relationship
- The Advisor Relationship
- The Coaching Relationship.
Even though these relationships are mentioned loosely in every conversation, conference and other platforms, when they are used well, well-understood and well-guided, they can lead to the ‘make or break’ in life, love, success and business.
In this article, we are continuing the series and looking at the third relationship, the advisor relationship, and its role in shaping businesses positively with regards to growth and consolidation. The best investment a startup or a small business can make early on may be the selection of its advisory board.
You may have an impressive catalogue of business ideas in your arsenal as a small business, but excelling in business requires that you understand the business of running an enterprise. Running a business of any size is not linear in fashion. It is a continual, evolving process which you have to develop and tweak to make work. One of the best ways to learn to run your business better is to ceate an advisory board. As leaders and businesses, it is very important to be honest with ourselves about what we do not know. Once we identify learning gaps, it is best to assemble a group of five or so people who know more about business than us.
Inc defines an advisory board as a group of individuals selected by the entrepreneur or small business to provide advice and help the company succeed. They are separate from a formal Board of Directors. Entrepreneurs can select advisors based on needed skills or voids that need to be filled within their company. For example, an entrepreneur could add a lawyer for additional legal advice, a public relations specialist for branding or marketing advice, a former entrepreneur for advice on growing a company and selling to an acquirer, an industry specialist (e.g. consumer, fintech, etc.) for depth of knowledge and/or partnership development, and/or an investor for fundraising advice.
It is really up to us as leaders and small businesses to decide with the advisor what type of relationship would work. It is not necessarily a formal relationship with regular meetings like a Board of Directors, although it can be. As small businesses we may want to work directly with some advisors or hold meetings with some or all of the advisors at once. Some advisors may prefer to interact at regular intervals with the entrepreneurs, while others may be open to be contacted as and when they are needed. The entrepreneur and advisor need to discuss the logistics of the relationship before working together as there is no one right way to structure a relationship.
So how can we adopt an advisory board into our small enterprises as leaders and entrepreneurs? Here are my thoughts on 4 strategies leaders and businesses can use to achieve success with the adoption of an advisoryboard in the workplace.
- Choose Wisely
When deliberating as a leader and team on who might be eligible for your advisory board, you should start with an existing entrepreneur, an existing or prospective client, a mentor who may not be in your industry, a lawyer and an accountant to recruit to your board.You can always realize a strong return on investment by allowing specialists to advise you in areas in which you are not well-trained. As the business leader, you always need to be focused on your most valuable tasks. In addition to specific skills and processes, your business can benefit from small business advice on a broader, more holistic level. Developing a board of advisors is invaluable guidance for your business.
- Do not Be Intimidated by the Concept of a Board
The general narrative around boards is usually a mental picture of formal Boards of Directors, highbrow, professional, elite and celebrated moguls, and in some cases, they are exactly that. However, there are myriad ways to put together a Board with whom you can work and from whom you can learn. Your small business board of advisors does not have to be formalized and you do not necessarily have to even address them as a Board. As a small business leader and owner, your Board may be a loosely defined group of people who know what they are doing and are willing to share their wisdom and guidance with you. Whatever you call them, they can make you more successful.
- Board Alignment
Independent advisors, members who do not have skin in the game, are most impartial. At the same time, you want people who are not afraid to give you their honest opinions. Your board should be aligned with your mission and vision and hold you accountable to reaching your set targets. It should consist of a collection of people willing to tell it like it is. You should select people who understand the direction you are taking your company in and who will also buy into your vision. You want to choose people for your Board who bring the right knowledge and skills to the table. That means people whose skill sets complement rather than replicate your own. With the right group of advisors, your business can establish its strategic direction and you can be more confident you are orienting your employees and departments toward common strategic goals.
- Execute, Execute, Execute
If you have concluded that putting together a Board is a wise move for your small business, then proceed and execute right away. Small businesses can fall into the trap of second-guessing due to the limited pool of funds at their disposal. There is a lot to gain as a small business with regards to building a board of advisors and as the business grows, you will soon realise that the costs outweigh the benefits.
A board of advisors for a start-up and small business is imperative to its continual success. As leaders and entrepreneurs, adopting it and promoting it can help consolidate and leverage the quality of work even at an early stageand help the business grow considerably.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017. She has also been featured on CNN.
She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org and @dzigbordikwaku across all social media platforms.