Entrepreneurs often fall into the fatal trap of asking the wrong people to be on their advisory board. Entrepreneurship = time strapped. It is easy to scour existing network connections when assembling an advisory board. But that is missing the biggest benefit to assembling an advisory board! Advisory boards are terrific reasons to reach out and engage with people outside of an existing network. Here’s how to get A+ advisors.
#1 Identify skill gaps of your team. The right way to assemble an advisory board is to start by identifying the flat spots of the current founders / executive team skill set. Use your advisory board to fill skill gaps with expertise that you may not otherwise be able to afford.
#2 Start with a Job Description. When you know what you need in your advisory board, put together a one page executive summary that describes who you are looking for, expectations of the board and compensation.
#3 Assemble a list of 10 top candidates. Ideally none of these people are in your existing network. People that are already in your network are, by default, already informal advisors. Use your advisory board to take it to the next level – find people well outside of your current network. At a minimum this will be a great opportunity to meet new people that can be influential to your business. Your advisory board members’ network can become your network, so reaching people with networks different than yours can provide a powerful multiplier effect.
#4 Approach all candidates. Even if you quickly narrow down your top candidates, reach out to everyone. Use the line “I am assembling an advisory board” as a way to make cold connections and meet people you otherwise may not have a reason to open a dialogue with. Good advisory boards change up the composition, so keep candidates in the pipeline!
#5 Start with 3. Start with a small advisory board. See what the dynamics are like. Further identify skills that would be helpful to have on your team. Then add members over time and rotate members out.
#6 Set the first meeting date! Getting the first meeting done is a big milestone and it will force you to set dates for future meetings. Ideal advisory board members are people you should be selling to – so they will turn around and be advocates for you and your business. You need to show them that you are serious about a great advisory board experience for all members and the best way to show them you are serious – is to impress them with the first meeting. The best way to impress them is to be prepared.
Get more information on these secrets, plus your first advisory board meeting agenda, job description template and interviews with other entrepreneurs in our elearning course “Assembling an A+ Advisory Board”. This course is FREE for a limited time when you visit www.advisory-board.info to enroll!
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