Global Women in Business Advisory Council
10 minutes, 10 insights
What's the best way to advance your business agenda? And where do you need to focus your energies? We're pleased to introduce 10 minutes, 10 insights, a series of actionable ideas from members of the Global Women in Business Advisory Council. Here they will share insights on the very same issues you face as you work to grow your business. It's one way this international group of women business leaders is helping women entrepreneurs everywhere succeed.
We kick off our "actionable insights" series with:
Building your brain trust: tips for choosing the best business advisors
A strong advisory team is fundamental as female entrepreneurs scale their businesses. Consulting with advisors is core to the strategic planning process to access new markets, capital and business intelligence. Advisors can help identify business opportunities and ways to overcome challenges. Furthermore, they provide an invaluable, long-range perspective.
- Understand that having the right advisors at the right time is critical to the success of your business.
- Recognize that there are two types — personal and professional — and use them appropriately.
- Make sure you and your business are ready to utilize the input of professional advisors before meeting with them. Do your homework, hone your data and be organized.
- Comprehend the value of different advisors with varied time commitments. A monthly lunch with a leading figure may be worth more than a weekly interaction with all.
- Choose advisors that are "right-sized" for your business and your goals. Don't pay for talent that isn't practical for your needs.
- Steer clear of selecting the costliest or most prestigious candidate. Unless you can really benefit from their reputation or wisdom, it may not be right for your company's needs or space in time.
- Expect to pay your advisors.
- What's in it for an advisor to work with you? Create motivations. Consider offering complimentary services or an equity share in your company.
- Think about the most strategic way to use each advisor. Assess strengths and weaknesses and recognize who is best for what issue.
- Think long-term when choosing advisors because changing them will, by nature, cause a certain level of upheaval.
More food for thought from top female entrepreneurs:
Amy Rosen: It's a mistake to bring in an advisor who's really smart, really talented, and to spend the money when your business is not ready to use this knowledge. Be deliberate. Look for the right advisor for the right moment.
Carolyn Cross: Make sure your advisors are motivated. It's not worth it to underpay your advisors at the early stage.
Elisabete Miranda: I know everyone thinks her business is unique, but the fact is my industry is undergoing a lot of consolidation and it's hard to find someone who understands this. In the instances when I have identified the right person, he or she wasn't interested due to time constraints or they are just too busy growing their own business.
Carla Newell: Being on a board is a huge commitment. Be smart about the way you use these people's time. Is a lunch with one advisor more effective than a meeting with four of them?