You don’t need to tread in unfamiliar waters alone. Building an advisory board for your firm will create a powerful asset that will provide advice and objective feedback elevating the level of service you provide and improving the current client experience.
Advisory boards have no fiduciary responsibility. Their advice is non-binding. Your advisory board should provide you with great feedback and will naturally become a powerful referral engine as they gain a vested interest in the success of the firm.
Eight Steps To Creating Your Advisory Board
Determine The Objective – Your advisory board will help you look at your firm with an open mind. Objectives should include; insight to product and business development, marketing and technology, and research that encompasses emerging industry trends.
Define Your Advisory Board Member Profiles – Choose clients that will become evangelists for your firm while mentoring you as an advisor. When forming your board identify clients that can provide you with diverse skills, experience and knowledge. The ideal members of your board will be open minded, thought-provoking, problem solvers and have strong communication skills.
Establish Expectations – Make sure you have clear objectives so that board members know what is expected of them. You should be specific in communicating responsibilities, the areas in which you are seeking help, and how often you will want to interact. If private information will be discussed inform advisory members that they will be signing a confidentiality agreement. You may want to consider having board term limits so that when changes are needed, board members and clients are not offended.
Develop Board Relationships – Ask your board members for their opinions and advice, and establish a mentor/sounding board relationship with them. Express your appreciation frequently and don’t be offended if you hear something you don’t like, your advisory board must be open and honest.
Prepare For Board Meetings – Advanced preparations may include: soliciting agenda items from the board (to prevent unplanned discussions) and distributing important information prior to the meeting along with your meeting agenda. Host your meeting in a location that is free of distractions and stay on track by stimulating dialogue and having a results oriented gathering. Summarize minutes and include recommendations on key issues.
Compensation – Most board members are eager to serve and help firms and will usually not expect or inquire about compensation. Consider making a donation to their favorite charity in their honor. Make sure you comply with FINRA regulations.
Keep Board Members Informed – Keep your board members excited about your business by providing them with updates at times when you aren’t asking for their advice. The fact that they’ve agreed to be on your board means they care about your firm. Keeping them up-to-date will enhance their commitment to your practice and in turn, help them be of greater value to you.
Celebrate– Find ways to celebrate your board members affiliation with you. Create an e-mail list for high-level communication or incorporate your advisory board into your website.
Advisory Board Members can help you see what you are not seeing yourself.
Embrace the insight they offer and remove the personal barriers and
roadblocks that may be preventing you from experiencing positive change.
Ironstone can assist you in developing an Advisory Board Plan. We specialize in identifying gaps in your existing plan and will collaborate with you to develop solutions that are parallel in achieving the results your desire.
We want to hear from you! Does your firm have an advisory board and if so, how are they working for you? Share your best ideas here! We always love hearing from you!
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