Business, Culture and Entrepreneurship

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is a Board of Advisors important for a startup?

From my latest Outlook Business article

A board of directors or advisors can play the same role for a company that a good mentor would play in the life of an individual.

"I am trying to hire a CEO for my manufacturing business. If I give him equity, what should I do for my existing GMs?" One of my early-morning jogging partners shot this at me recently. Mine was a group of men, all in their early- to mid-forties. Many members of the walking (some ambling) group run their own businesses. Many a morning, we end up discussing the challenges someone in the group faces that week.

It surprises me to see that many firms lack a truly functional board of directors or, at the very least, an active board of advisors, though they have become reasonably successful. Each of these firms fulfils the mandatory requirements for the appropriate number of directors and periodic board meetings and minutes—often honoured more in the breach than in the observance. Ironically, this state is probably truest in entrepreneurial firms that would benefit the most in having such a functional board of directors or advisors. Read the rest online.