If your family-owned business could use expert help, Bill Smith of Double Iron Consulting can help you set up an advisory board.
Most people think of a formal Board of Directors when they think of a board, but it doesn’t always make sense for smaller companies to have one. Alternatively, you may find that your Board of Directors lacks expertise in specific fields like marketing or expansion that you need to pursue your goals.
An advisory board allows companies of all sizes to benefit from expert insight in a structured setting without the formality of a Board of Directors. Here is a closer look at what each type of board tries to accomplish:
Board of Directors
An organization’s Board of Directors is responsible for the governance of its affairs. For example, the Board of Directors sets company policy, establishes goals, and creates marketing campaigns. Members of a Board of Directors may also promote their organization through efforts at events such as conferences and community galas.
Members of a Board of Directors typically skew older and have a financial stake in the organization. They have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the organization’s best interests and must follow legal regulations pertaining to their status as board members.
The benefits of a Board of Directors include checking the CEO’s power, conducting regular meetings to track company growth, and ensuring that executive action has a meaningful impact.
An organization’s Advisory Board is typically staffed with experts who have no financial stake in or formal obligation to the organization. Instead, members meet with senior leadership on an as-needed basis to share their opinion on topics that the business may not have internal personnel to address. It has no decision-making abilities.
For instance, an advisory board might brainstorm ideas to help a company connect with a younger audience or provide advice as a company undergoes a strategic merger. Advisory boards last as long as an organization requires their expertise, so the board focused on engaging a Millennial audience might be permanent, while the board for the merger might plan to disband once it’s complete.
An advisory board’s efforts tend to be more informal in nature, such as community outreach programs to get an organization’s name out there or one-on-one meetings with senior leadership. As such, an advisory board is often the perfect complement to the more formal efforts of a Board of Directors.
Many organizations benefit from having both a Board of Directors and an advisory board, so you shouldn’t look at it as a choice between the two. An expert such as Bill Smith can explain the potential benefits of each type of board for your organization in further detail.
You may also have multiple advisory boards that each provide insight into a different area of your business. Here are some of the most common types of advisory boards that might be worthy of your consideration:
An advisory board focused on governance might conduct periodic reviews of the Board of Directors, including auditing its performance and reviewing its bylaws. Notably, this type of board still lacks decision-making powers beyond making recommendations.
Marketing can get stale if the same people are constantly in charge of campaigns, so an external advisory board could be consulted for a jolt of creativity. You might also get insight into emerging market trends or demographics that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
An advisory board can be an excellent way for young professionals to prepare for a future position on the Board of Directors. Boards staffed with young, ambitious people can also provide energy and creativity to the rest of the leadership team.
An advisory board may be given control over specific initiatives, ensuring that those programs are run well while allowing most of the leadership team to concentrate their efforts elsewhere.
It might seem strange, but you can benefit from an advisory board that doesn’t have any responsibilities. For example, an advisory board staffed with industry veterans can give smaller companies more credibility in the eyes of consumers.
An expert such as Bill Smith of Double Iron Consulting can help you determine what your organization needs and how an advisory board should be structured to provide that assistance.
[Alt Text: A picture of a cup of Royal Cup Coffee.]
Bill Smith began his professional career as a summer intern at his family’s company, Royal Cup Coffee and Tea. He did everything from roasting coffee beans to making sales calls, giving him a broad array of practical experiences to draw on later as an executive.
After graduating from school, Bill Smith began accumulating management experience, ultimately rising to CEO of Royal Cup Coffee in 2014. With years of experience in leadership roles, Smith can connect with the leaders of other family-owned businesses in ways that other people cannot.
Bill Smith still serves on Royal Cup Coffee’s Board of Directors, having left his role as CEO in 2020 to pursue other opportunities. He has founded Double Iron Consulting to leverage his professional experiences to help family-owned businesses survive and thrive in these challenging times.
If you are interested in learning more about Bill Smith or Double Iron Consulting, you can visit the company online at DoubleIronConsulting.com. The company also provides updates on its operations on social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.