Great leaders know that it’s important to recognize that they don’t have all the answers, and that asking for help is strength, not a weakness. This principle is the basis for why we hire great employees, and why great leadership teams are key to a successful brand. The very best business owners go even farther: they hire an advisory board.
While it may seem intimidating to hire an outsider to help you build your brand, involving seasoned professionals who have conquered the challenges you have yet to face is a great way to make your business stronger. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20 - so ask someone who’s ahead of you to tell you about their view.
“It’s impossible to know everything, and thinking you have to make every decision on your own, without input from others, is a great way to cripple yourself with anxiety,” says Lisa McClung, Managing Principal at Lismore International, a global advisory firm that is pioneering new ways to accelerate business growth. “By building a great advisory board, you’ll equip yourself, your team, and your brand with the supplementary knowledge and confidence needed to outperform your competitors.”
McClung has spent her entire career lifting up companies and accelerating growth through research and advisory boards - and she’s not slowing down anytime soon. I spoke with her about the main benefits companies can expect to see from organizing an advisory board, and here are the top benefits of advisory boards that businesses value:
“Arguably biggest benefit that companies of all ages, sizes and industries get is the ability to cut the time it takes to refine a product idea, business plan, marketing campaign or even internal solution,” explains McClung. “Having a great advisory board means being able to bypass much of the trial and error you’d have to go through to achieve your goals - which means saving both time and money.”
Bringing great advisors on board means having regular access to industry leaders who have seen your problem before and conquered it. They’ve been steeped in the industry your company plays in, and they’ve developed expertise past what your competitors will have access to. Because they’re invested in your company, it’s in their best interest to work together to combine their individual experiences into a priceless wealth of knowledge, information and gut instincts that you can access whenever you choose.
Your advisors didn’t get to where they are alone - and neither should you. A key service your advisors perform is introductions that expand your business network, and accelerate the pace at which you rub elbows with top innovators, future investors and business partners, and high level clients.
“Advisors invest in your business because they love your idea and see potential in you as a leader,” says McClung. “That means they’re highly motivated to help you succeed - and that means introducing you to the person you didn’t know you needed at the perfect time.”
The advisors you approach are already great at networking, introductions, and brainstorming - and bringing them into the fold of your company means that they’ll talk about your company in a variety of locations. An advisory board is a great way to get industry figureheads to act as brand advocates in the elite circles they travel - which means more expensive orders, more investor interest, and more opportunities for your brand.
If your brand lacks credibility and recognition, a fast pass to remedying that problem is getting an advisor with a known name. In the same way that these advisors help with introductions, a well chosen advisor can also lend credibility to a previously unknown - or disliked - brand name. Why is this? When an advisor is confirmed for your brand, they’re endorsing you in a very powerful way. They’re saying that not only did they choose to invest in your company, but they also are there to assist in building it up and will work to steer you in the right direction.
Running a business is difficult - don’t make it impossible by trying to do it alone. If you’re looking to accelerate your business growth, but are having trouble outperforming your competitors, it may be time to build an advisory board. Find your advocates, and the only way your brand will be able to go is up.