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5 Top Tips to creating the perfect board of directors

March 23, 2017

Do you have a small business, run it on your own and are wondering if you should have a board of directors?  Read on!


A good board, should be a perfect epitome of collaboration, effectiveness, unity and productivity. A team with such features however, is hard to pull together! A strong, engaged and experienced board of directors can be a small business’s strongest asset if they are picked and managed correctly.  They are responsible for approving the company’s strategic direction, ensuring the required resources in place to achieve the company goals. 


1. Culture fit

Boards can vary in character dramatically.  If your business has a strong culture - maybe you’re entrepreneurial or innovative, maybe you’re socially focused or team orientated, this should be reflected in the members of the board. 

Your board members need to believe in you, your business, your culture and your vision.  But, this is when it gets tricky…


2. Don’t include yes men

You want individual brains, not people that are there just to please you.  Whilst you will need to be able to make decisions, you want each person in the room to have an opinion that could influence other’s points of view.  A board gives you multiple brains rather than just one.  Use them!


And accept that in a majority vote, you might not get your way.  Set the rules out from the start about how decisions will be made.


3. Pick different to think different

Diversity on boards gets talked about a lot and in our opinion, it is needed, gender, age, background etc.  If you have different people in a room, you will get different points of view.  With board sizes averaging 6-12 directors, there’s lots of space to have variety.  Small businesses don’t need that number of members, but you do need to think carefully about what angle each person would bring. 


Look at your in-house talent, who can you bring up through the ranks so you have a member of the board who knows what it’s like as part of the team. 


Don’t pick ‘mini-me’s’  Look at people that have different skills, who are specialists in other areas, maybe a finance or marketing expert.  A board of all the strengths and skills.


4. They might know a lot, but they don’t know it all

Your directors should know a lot about business but do they know everything about your business?  Make sure you provide the information when they start and periodically, update them with the relevant facts and figures that they will need.  For those that need a bit more support, there is training available that will help them understand the role they are being asked to do for your company.


5. Use your network

When trying to find people to join your board - look to your Linkedin connections and ask people you know for recommendations and introductions.  Don’t expect the perfect members of your board to fall into your lap.  Your board members may well serve on other boards of non-competing companies so ask for feedback and advice when it comes to certain individuals. 


And a little heads-up…. Expect to pay your board members. These experienced individuals are giving up their time to help guide your business, they will expect to be reimbursed.  This may be a fee/salary and/or equity in the business.  Therefore, it is important to pick carefully who you want to engage with.


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