The more I blog, write, and teach about entrepreneurship, the more individual entrepreneurs ask me for help and advice. On average, I think I get 2-3 requests per week for personal help.
While I enjoy doing this a great deal, I’ve decided that the first advice I will give every entrepreneur is to form an advisory board of perhaps 6-10 successful people, to meet with them regularly, and to use their collective wisdom to help solve every business problem.
In fact, I might tell entrepreneurs that I won’t help them until they’ve formed an advisory board. An advisory board can help them be accountable for the advice they receive from me and others. If I’m taking 1-2 hours several times a week to counsel different entrepreneurs, what chance is there that they will act on my free advice? But if they have a board to update monthly, chances are they will be far more serious about acting on the advice they are getting.
One of the reasons to meet monthly with a board of advisors instead of asking for individual advice from “mentors” one at a time is that in a group setting the chances are high that the advisors will start feeding off one another and soon you’ll have a boatload of excellent advice, offers to open doors and take assignments, and emotional support for you and your company’s mission.
I serve on a few boards, with some very talented and unselfish people. I am finding tremendous value in these meetings. (The advice not only helps the CEO, but I think advisors can learn a lot from each other as well.)
I’ll be working on a future article about the power of advisory boards; but in the meantime, Gary Williams wrote an excellent article for the Deseret News about advisory boards. He and I are on the SilentWhistle advisory board and enjoyed a tremendously productive meeting today with CEO Adam Edmunds. (If you want to comply with certain Sarbanes-Oxley requirements by providing anonymous feedback channels for your employees, check out SilentWhistle. More and more publicly traded companies are using their service, including MyFamily.com and Overstock.com).