A good board of advisers becomes handy whenever an objective advice is needed, when you need to gauge future trends or scout the market. It’s also a great resource when you are aiming to create new strategic positions that may lead to competitive advantage.

The advice given by these boards is often non-binding, which allows you some room to make choices deemed best for the business. Nonetheless, you’ll need an effective board that will put the business on a growth track at all times. Here’s how to create such a board.

Look for specific skills. A board that’s comprised of the right people for the purpose at hand will be a valuable asset. Your selection of the board members should be informed by the reason why you need that board in the first place: why do you need them? What tasks will they be entrusted with?

As long as you have the answers to these questions, you can be sure to know the exact skills to look for in the people you bring into your board of advisors.

Make honesty a priority. Your advisory board is not just supposed to offer advices alone, a good board will also evaluate and play the devil’s advocate. The more diverse the board’s composition the richer the help you get from it. You create such a board by creating the right environment: ask for honesty, be open to criticism and act upon the information provided; complimentary and critical alike.

Set clear expectations. You can expect to get the most out of your advisory board if you make it clear what you expect from them. To make your board effective, set out the ground rules and communicate them to each member right at the time you are inviting them on board. If they find these expectations acceptable then they are highly likely to deliver results.

Consider using alternative feedback methods. You may not be able to get your entire board of advisers together at all times. It’s advisable to have alternative channels of communication through which you can involve those members who cannot physically attend particular meetings. You can take the example of the First American Merchant which uses e-mail to reach all its advisory board members allowing everyone to respond at their convenience. FAM is one of the best sources of small business financing in the US. You may consider approaching the company for alternative small business loans at any moment.

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