By David Rose and Katherine Taylor
Recently, David Rose our Managing Director and Business Advisory Director, returned to the classroom to undertake a masterclass with the Advisory Board Centre. As a certified chair with the Advisory Board Centre, David’s membership allows entrepreneurs and specialists who have a proven track record to give back and support fellow entrepreneurs success.
A big challenge for all of us in a low growth economy such as Australia, is that our changing market needs both different and critical thinking. Questioning what you are going to do differently from your competitors, what new markets should you look to, and what are you doing about innovation, new products and new technologies to drive an ordinary looking business into something that is sustainable longer term, are all everyday considerations.
As businesses are challenging their own boundaries and spending less time planning and more time testing, critical thinking and quality conversations are needed.
So where do we discuss these issues? How many perspectives can you gain from people you respect and trust? How confidential, focused and deep are the conversations? What follow up do you have and how do you maintain your accountability to the decisions you have made?
Furthermore, who is better at strategy? The CEO, the executive team, advisors? The answer is none, the work best as a team, bringing their own expertise and experience to the table.
So what do businesses do if they don’t have an Advisory Board?
- Go It Alone
- Join Executive Roundtables
- Establish a Governance Board
- Employ a Business Coach
Advisory Boards are an effective way of working with advisors long term, providing the support and insight along the way.
Advisory Boards deliver bigger networks and access to expertise that is not core to any one business. This might include insight into the skills needed to successfully market a different consumer group, experience to make acquisitions or mentoring and leadership coaching for the next generation in business.
To be effective though, there has to be a clear understanding from both the business and the advisors or the key issues facing the business or the triggers for creating an Advisory Board.
The following points are reasons for establishing an Advisory Board:
- Export and International Expansion – Opportunity is knocking to push the global boundaries, as “Brand Australia” is increasingly well regarded internationally. Businesses are very well placed to benefit from working collaboratively with advisors with market and cultural knowledge, contracts, due diligence experience and negotiation experience.
- Growth Opportunities – Having an Advisory Board that oversee strategy and growth opportunities is a smart move for entrepreneurs. Generally the advisors are chosen because they have practical, hands on experience and are entrepreneurs themselves. This “peer” environment is dynamic and highly impactful. Its aim is to ratchet up the CEO’s awareness and understanding of the business and potential opportunities.
- Succession Planning – The maturing age of business owners in Australia must not be ignored. Succession planning is a well thought out process that generally takes 18 months to 3 years to implement. Whether a family business is guiding the next generation, an investor is looking to corporatize a family business, an owner is looking for an exit or management buy out, succession planning is imperative.
- Crisis and Situation Management – Advisory Boards can be a vehicle to address specific issues when they arise. Business turnaround, critical incidents, and unprecedented events can be triggers to the establishment of an Advisory Board.
- Project Based Advisory Boards – Opening up a strategic thinking process regarding technology or digital disruption is a current driver of project based Advisory Boards. The goal is to create a digital mindset through sourcing external perspectives that identify future opportunities, but also manage potential pitfalls along the way.
The Advisory Board Centre members specialise in establishing and chairing Advisory Boards within organisations. An effective Advisory Board supports organisations and Managing Directors to gain clarity in operational thinking while maintaining a long term focus on their strategy.
An Important Message
While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents. Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.