Luke Mysse, in his talk “Options for Growth”at the Creative Freelancers Conference last month in Boston stated, “You shouldn’t walk alone” - get an advisory board to keep you on track with goals & finances.
Why? It’s a place to be encouraged. It will take a lot of vulnerability but Luke strongly advises “you must do it to get better at running a design biz.” I sat up and took notes. I can see how this would be a scary, yet worthwhile goal to implement in my business plan.
The logistics entail gathering approximately four people with business success (ex: attorney, financial planner, accountant, CEO) – it’s apparently “professional altruism” on their part - and invite them to a 2-hr lunch, 1x/quarter to look at sales, finances, go over the books.
This tip sparked a spirited Twitter conversation over the next several days between myself, Luke, and a few other conferencees: Luke (@lukemysse), Jack Kinley (@labmonkey), and Jenny Poff (@jennypoff ), in which Luke continued his helpful coaching specifically around the idea of generating an Advisory Board meeting agenda, and encouraged us to report back on our efforts.
For the first meeting:
- Start with “thanks”
- Talk about why an advisory board, and my biggest challenges
- Let them introduce themselves
- Set expectations and communication/feedback guidelines
- End by saying “thanks” again
For subsequent meetings:
- Update on prior meeting “to-dos”
- Give a sales report
- Report on financials
- Discuss 3 big issues I’m facing – what’s the most urgent issue that must be solved in 30 days? 60 days? 90?
- End with a list of tasks I will commit to by next meeting
Thanks for the words of wisdom & encouragement, Luke!
I’m not sure who to approach to join my board, but I’ll be attending a networking event at the local chamber of commerce this week. That could be a good place to try broaching the subject, and see what kind of response I get.
Do you have an Advisory Board for your business or organization, or thinking of starting one? Please share your Advisory Board journey...