An Advisory Board/Forum is a group of people that advises you on the management of your company. But just as importantly Advise the other members on how to run their business and offer your experience to them!
It does not have authority to vote on corporate matters, nor a have legal fiduciary responsibility. This dramatically reduces the cost of corporate governance. Many private businesses look to Advisory Board/Forums in order to benefit from the knowledge of others, without the expense, formality or corporate governance issues of a Board of Directors. The costs of membership of an Advisory Board/Forum are similar if not cheaper than employing one non-executive director. This means that you get 12 or more advisers for the price of one!
Am I bound by their advice?
No, the members of the group share ideas, thoughts and if possible their practical experiences to help you see your issue more clearly but you are not bound by their suggestions.
Is it confidential?
Confidentiality is the hall mark of any Advisory Board/Forum. In the initial training of the Advisory Board/Forum members examples are given where breaches in confidentiality have destroyed the trust built by the group. Breaches are treated very seriously and breaching members are typically asked to leave the group.
Why do you need an Advisory Board/Forum?
No business person should be an Island. You have great ideas, but just like the sayings go: There is safety in numbers and two heads are better than one (In this case 12-15). This is a structured way to bring issues before a peer group who can help you see and think clearly. You are too involved in the day to day operation and cannot step back to see the forest from the trees. Everyone has different life experiences and knowledge. With an Advisory Board/Forum all this comes to play for you and for them.
Where did the Advisory Board/Forum Idea come from:
Advisory Board/Forums have been used for years, but the primary use is in an organization called Young Presidents Organization (YPO). YPO gives each of it’s members a chance to participate in an Advisory Board called a Forum to other YPO Members. Forum is the highest rated benefit and experience of YPO membership.
How often does the Advisory Board/Forum meet?
Typically an Advisory Board/Forum meets once a month. The group decides on whether to meet during the Summer or during the holidays. Typically a group might have a summer event to invite spouses or significant others, and during the holiday have a similar event to celebrate the years accomplishments.
How is an Advisory Board/Forum more effective?
Different Perspectives: An Advisory Board/Forum brings with it a wide range of experiences and perspectives. A sufficiently varied board can bring different perspectives to your problem.
Typically it costs the same to join a managed Advisory Board/Forum as it does to employ one non-executive director. A typical Advisory Board/Forum can have between 12-15 members which means that in terms of value you will have 12-15 heads working on your challenges and opportunities rather than the one of a non-executive director.
With an Advisory Board/Forum you will have up to 15 other people working on it. This means you will have a wider choice of ideas to work on and develop.
Advisory Board/Forums organized by others often have workshops for structured learning as it is often cost-effective to bring in world class speakers to help you develop your skills and understanding of the latest business tools and thinking.
Structured problem solving:
Advisory Board/Forums run by others have structured problem solving sessions so that if you have a challenging problem where there is no clear answer or even process for resolving it, then the Advisory Board/Forum’s expert facilitator or chair can provide a structured environment to help you unpack the problem and think through the actions needed to work towards its resolution.
Share difficult issues:
An Advisory Board/Forum is working on your behalf and so if you have an issue with a fellow director or shareholder then the Advisory Board/Forum is likely to be the only place where you can share the issue in confidence and receive a sympathetic and understanding ear.
So when you are looking to grow your company and you considering recruiting either an executive or non-executive director, first consider whether an Advisory Board/Forum would be a more productive and cost effective option.
If you would like to be part of an Advisory Board/Forum in your area, contact: email@example.com