Do you have a Board of advisers?

The scene

The owners of a successful business were determined to maximise profitability by doing everything in-house. Indeed, Mary and Bob refused to spend their hard-earned cash on external advisors.

Then cash flow problems unexpectedly popped up. So too did inefficiencies. Worse still, the owners were so busy dealing with internal business requirements that they were no longer getting out there to sell to new clients and service existing ones.

The solution

Mary and Bob finally realised they couldn’t do it all so they took the plunge and engaged a efficiency expert to help them build a board of experienced, qualified and trusted external advisors, each expert in their field.

The efficiency expert first worked with Mary and Bob to determine what they were good at and what they loved doing. Next, the search was on for board members to fill the gaps.

  • Bookkeeper—Mary and Bob were OK with the books but not great. Their outsourced, experienced bookkeeper reality checked the finances, sorted the books, ensured the business was fully compliant and increased cash flow.
  • Technology—Mary and Bob struggled with the fast-paced world of technology and were confused over how to take full advantage of it. Their technology consultant taught them that technology is much more than IT and set about upgrading telecommunications and customer relationship management systems as well as marketing platforms, like the website.
  • Marketing—Mary and Bob’s marketing expert introduced new ways of thinking and doing, including with social media and other communications channels. This supplemented the powerful word-of-mouth marketing already in place.
  • Human Resources—Mary and Bob’s HR expert conducted an unbiased and independent audit of staffing and supported the business to make beneficial changes. HR is a highly specialised skill requiring years of experience and knowledge. If not handled well, it can cost big time. Mary and Bob effectively and seamlessly managed some staff out and brought new staff in.

Results

  • Sustainable and profitable: Even after paying for the services of their external advisers, Mary and Bob’s business became more sustainable and profitable. They saved money through efficiencies and were free again to sign up new clients.
  • Sound knowledge: As owners, Mary and Bob benefitted in many ways from their advisors’ up-to-date and in-depth knowledge, their independent and considered advice and their refreshing perspectives.
  • Work-life balance: Mary and Bob began enjoying their business once more and achieved a healthier work-life balance. They no longer spent hours after work and all weekend sweating it out with business operations, just to keep matters afloat.
  • Productivity and morale: Staff were happier and more productive with modern technology and the right systems in place. They were more confident too.
  • New skills: Mary and Bob learned heaps along the way, developed some news skills inhouse and were eventually able to use their advisers less often. They also rested easy knowing that their board of advisors were there to back them when needed.
  • Newfound confidence: Mary and Bob were also confident that their business was less susceptible to risks caused by their innocent lack of knowledge.

Tips

  1. Don’t begrudge developing a board of advisors. It’s an essential cost of doing business with plenty of positive outcomes.
  2. Check your advisor’s qualifications, experience and references, and remember that you only get what you pay for. Skimping by engaging a junior advisor just to save money may backfire.
  3. Ensure you have a solid personal relationship with your advisor. You need to work closely with them and enjoy it.
  4. Be open to the fresh perspectives of external advisors. You’ll be surprised at the opportunities their advice can bring.
  5. Understand that advice online may be free and help on one level but it’s no replacement for a strong one-on-one relationship and can even set you on the wrong path.
  6. If you’re a new business read this blog by Omania Terry.

 

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