Issue No. 65 - June/July 2012
Advisory boards show SMEs the way
by Craig Farrow
More SMEs are establishing Advisory Boards as a means to set strategic direction effectively, and gain a ‘second opinion’ on their management and strategic decisions.
Typically, the business owners are looking for a structured way to challenge their thinking. Doing so through an Advisory Board lets the strategic assistance happen in a co-ordinated and controllable way.
As well as strategic assistance and co-ordinated advice, advisory boards can offer more specific support and direction, such as:
• Business Improvement Suggestions
• Policies & Procedures Establishment
• Governance & Compliance
• Commercial v Technical Input
• Input from outside the business
The advisory board can help SMEs design a profitable business model which is robust enough to sustain adversity and capitalise on opportunities. The board can focus on entrepreneurial business development that addresses weaknesses and positions the business to capitalise on the opportunities identified.
Using an advisory board helps the SME founder to quarantine time for working on the business instead of continually being dragged into the day-to-day operations. Doing this helps to develop a governance culture where business policy is developed and compliance obligations are achieved.
An advisory board can also help more directly, to develop a marketing and branding strategy for the business, for instance. Board members can help to develop and continuously review the business plan.
Such a board can also increase the professionalism and accountability of the business. It can help the business to:
• Become an employer of choice by designing and implementing human resource plans that attract and retain employees.
• Implement business case methodology that scopes tangible and intangible benefits of an investment.
• Implement performance measures including key performance indicators.
With an a...