- On average, businesses enjoy increased sales of 66.8% in the first three years after setting up an advisory board
- Businesses experience increased productivity of 5.9% on average, compared to a 3.2% rise in the previous 3 years
My experience with my advisory boards in Australia show a similar or even better performance. As an advisory board chair, I’ve worked with many private and family businesses that realised they’d come as far as they could on their own. They decided to bring in someone from the outside with a fresh point of view to see where the business was and how it could grow to the next level. They didn’t want high-priced consultants but someone with deep business experience, who had grown businesses and sat where they sit as a business owner or CEO. They also didn’t want to go down the road of setting up a traditional board of directors that provides legal and fiduciary oversight. If you want to break through that growth ceiling, you need ongoing access to skills that aren’t available to most business owners or CEOs. Those skills weren’t required to launch your business and drive its initial growth, but they are required now. You can learn them, of course, but is that the best use of your time? An advisory board structure is the best path to obtain this expertise. It’s also a good way to get around the “lonely at the top” problem that most business owners discover when they get to a certain level. Business owners tend to be self-motivated and confident people, and they’re often reluctant to share their problems with outsiders. They usually have a desire for independence or a fear of losing control — being vulnerable is a weakness. For regular access to the knowledge necessary to run a larger business, you have to talk to someone about it, and an advisory board gives you someone objective to talk to. They’re not employed in your business, so their perspective isn’t shaped by your corporate culture, but they’re very much on your side. Advisory boards also act as a business mentor. When you work with a personal mentor, you’re learning from their experiences and knowledge, using them to expand your own capabilities. Instead of personal development, an advisory board offers company development. You and your management team have a source on tap you can talk to, learn from and bounce ideas off.
Peter Williams is Australia’s authority on leveraging business growth through advisory boards. With over three decades of experience in engineering, investment banking and corporate strategy, including running and exiting his own multimillion-dollar management business, he knows what it takes to run a successful business – he has sat in the driver’s seat as a CEO and a business owner – and will make sure you’re getting the advice you need as you do it. In his book Are You Ready For Your Own Advisory Board? Peter discusses the most common misconceptions about these boards and explains what they do and what they can contribute to your business. For a free copy of Are You Ready For Your Own Advisory Board? visit www.FreeAdvisoryBoardBook.com.au/AFR