Why Your Business Needs a Board

By Nina Kaufman, Esq.

Leadership expert Ken Blanchard once said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” But if you’re working solo (or in a small company), where will that feedback come from?

Small and solo businesses can get feedback in several ways:

  1. A Board of Directors. If there is more than one owner in your company, you have automatic access to a “board of directors.” Directors are usually people within your company who have executive authority to make major decisions. As noted in the E-Myth post, “Do You Need a Board of Directors?” a board of directors can help develop business plans, handle policy issues, focus overall business strategy and monitor a company’s financial strength. However, when you bring in a board of directors, this will be the team that decides and implements change for your company. Decisions will be mandated by a majority.
  2. A Board of Advisors. Advisory board members don’t have a legal responsibility to your company. And you don’t have a legal responsibility to take the advice they give. However, as Bert Martinez points out in “The Value of the Board of Advisors,” they still have at least a “moral” responsibility to give you the best advice possible. A board of advisors can provide you with objective opinions, credibility and the value of learning from OPE (other people’s experiences).
  3. A Mastermind Group. Whereas a board of advisors convenes to focus on your business, a mastermind group convenes to help each of the members of the group. Consider it a peer advisory team. But like a board of advisors, you don’t want people who will rubber-stamp your ideas and plans. There’s a delicate balance in finding the right people: they need to be supportive yet also willing to challenge you. And you need to be willing to listen to the challenges and concerns they raise.

Whichever way you choose, don’t overlook the power of feedback. Steve Jobs suggests that you “ask for feedback from people with diverse backgrounds. For each one will tell you one useful thing.”

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