How to Effectively Utilize Your Advisory Team
No man is an island, and unless you have skills in every sort of area possible, you are likely to need advisors when it comes to running your own business, even if it’s just someone to do your accounting. So how do you best use your advisory team? Here are a few ideas:
Don’t have too few advisors: If you have only one advisor, that might be too much of a burden – or expectation – for that person. After all, the point of having an advisory team – whether it be a formal advisory board, or a less formal advisory system – is to get input from people with varying areas of expertise.
Don’t have too many advisors: You don’t need 10 or 15 or 20 or even more advisors. After all, that’s way too many advisors. How can you possibly know that you are getting the best advice available when it is so many people. There is a saying about how too many cooks spoil the broth. Well, too many advisors are apt to lead to dissent, confusion, and hassles.
Meet regularly: You should treat your advisory team like a real team. Even if you meet and talk on the phone or in person to some of the advisors regularly, you ought to consider regular meetings with the team, such as quarterly scheduled sessions, the way a board of directors might. This way, it can be more of a professional operation.
Don’t make any big decisions without clearing it with your advisors: Some people go to the trouble of setting up an advisory team, then never use them. That is a big mistake. You obviously don’t need to clear things like what paper you should use for the office copy machine with them (unless, of course, they are copy machine paper experts!), but you should talk with your advisors about large and medium decisions you need to make, such as whether to start a new location or how much you should raise your prices. After all, if you cannot talk over such decisions with them, then what do you have an advisory team for?
Rely on different people for different things: Jane may be a great accountant, but she isn’t going to necessarily know where the best place for you to move to is. Daniel may give you great help when it comes to real estate acquisitions, but he won’t be able to help you with figuring out a profit and loss statement. On some issues, your advisors can give you general business advice, but when it comes to specialized people, stick with the experts.