Though a company’s internal planning process is important, an outside perspective can also be equally beneficial. An advisory board, composed of experts who provide valuable insight and strategic advice, can offer that perspective to directors and higher-level managers.
A strong board offers businesses a competitive advantage, allowing them to make informed decisions that will drive growth and success. For this reason, each member of the board must be a quality candidate who is truly invested in your organization’s success.
To help you find the best advisors for your business, the members of Young Entrepreneur Council shared nine key traits to look for in a great board advisor.
1. They Have Industry Knowledge And Experience
A quality board advisor will already have deep knowledge and understanding of the topic you discuss, which helps move the conversation forward so you can get the most out of it. Having extensive industry experience allows them to give you good advice and guide you however you need so you can succeed and make good decisions. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
2. They Believe In The Company’s Vision
A quality board advisor is someone who is multifaceted. Consistent check-ins and genuine interest are key differentiators between most average board advisors and the really great ones. Bringing in money and resources is essential to providing value, and the best board advisors I know do all of that and more. They are people who understand the vision and long-term goals of the company and are equipped to help lead it to where it needs to be. – Lisa Song Sutton, Sin City Cupcakes
3. They Care About More Than The Money
In my experience, a quality board advisor is interested in more than making money. You want people on your board who are genuinely passionate about the industry and have a strong desire to help others. Failure to find someone with this trait could result in your company losing its “soul” as profitability takes the spotlight over customer success. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
4. They Understand Your Company’s ‘Why’
One characteristic of a quality board advisor is someone who understands the “why” behind the business. Look for board members who understand the purpose of the company and why customers want to buy from you. Typically, the best option is to reach out to a former “A” employee with expert knowledge about your company. Finding a board advisor who gets the “why” is key to growing a long-term profitable and sustainable business. – Benjamin Rojas, All in One SEO
5. They Communicate Well With You
When you’re dealing with placing people in high-level business positions, focus on the relationship first. Make sure you can communicate well with that person. I might cultivate a relationship with someone for years before I even approach them with the idea of working together. Consider the relationship a foundation and the partnership a house. You would never build a house before you built a foundation. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
6. They Show Excitement For Your Ideas
Quality board advisors should show excitement for your ideas as they help you navigate toward the next steps. It helps to build motivation and keep your ideas alive as long as they’re right for your business. The right attitude from a board advisor can make all the difference in your ideas’ success. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
7. They Listen First And Speak Later
A top-notch board advisor is someone who listens first and speaks later. They soak in information and also allow people to express themselves fully. As a result, when they do give advice, they’re able to give sensible suggestions that are based on as much information as they can get. They also create a healthy environment where discussions take place. When choosing a board advisor, interact with them first and notice how they respond to you and whether they listen. Picking someone who listens well will reap rewards for your business. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
8. They Take Their Commitment Seriously
Stewardship is an important characteristic of a quality board advisor. They are super focused on serving the interest of the organization and fulfilling its goals—but in doing so, they never ignore the interests of the public and intended beneficiaries of the organization. To bring such a person on board, look for someone who takes their commitment seriously. Such a person will always stick to their word without fail. You can convince them to join you by offering them the same kind of commitment and consistency through your execution in the relationship. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
9. They Are Driven Toward Success
The best board members are simply those driven toward success and those who are willing to push themselves to achieve it. Simply having a strong motivation to succeed can drive the development of all of the other key traits. One’s excitement, energy and even knowledge will ultimately stem from their willingness to continue to grow and accomplish more. In today’s fast-paced world, you don’t want those who choose to rest on their laurels. You want those who actively take on new developments and opportunities. To attract these individuals, you need to make it clear that they are the ones you are seeking. In my experience, highly motivated individuals will often seek each other out and can typically sense when they have found a place that will allow them to make some big moves. – Salvador Ordorica, The Spanish Group LLC