Posts Tagged ‘operations’

It’s Lonely At The Top …

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

A Business Advisory Board Can Help

Small Business Advisory Board | Ohio CPA Firm

Excellent leaders seek out excellent advisors and the best advisors for your business are those who fill knowledge gaps within your company. They will also not be afraid to share their opinions and offer differing perspectives. You may not always like what they have to say, but you will be a better leader for hearing it.

It’s not uncommon for small business owners or CEO’s to feel like there is no one they can turn for help, advice or validation.

Fortunately, a business advisory board can help. Business leaders who consult an advisory board not only gain camaraderie, they gain ready access to experts in a variety of fields, such as marketing, sales, financing, and others. Not to mention a valuable multi-perspective approach to your day-to-day managerial duties.

Read Also: 5 Best Practices For Taking Your Business To The Next Level

Business Success Is A Team Effort

Not ready to commit to utilizing a business advisory board in all aspects of your business? That’s fine. Start small instead. Many successful boards are originally formed with a very specific goal in mind – such as the implementation of a new strategic plan.

And you don’t always have to look exclusively outside of your business for help. Consider tapping members of your management team for specific organizational reports. Each advisory board meeting could begin with members of your management team providing updates on assigned areas, such as finances, operations/production, human resources, IT, and sales & marketing. This portion of the meeting will ensure that everybody is on the same page and will encourage your management team to buy into the advisory process. Later in your meeting, set aside time to speak confidentially with your advisory team. Doing so will provide everyone with the opportunity to speak candidly.

Say ‘No’ To ‘Yes-Men’

If you don’t trust the members of your advisory board, the initiative will not be effective. You need to go into advisory board meetings ready and willing to share sensitive information about the business, as well as personal information about yourself. If you don’t trust your board, you are unlikely to tell them everything they need to know to provide you with the best advice possible. Your board should consist of the following experts:

  • An attorney
  • An accountant
  • A banker
  • Experts in Marketing, HR and/or IT
  • Other successful entrepreneurs from other industries
  • Potential customers

Optimally, you should try to keep the group small and close-knit. More than six advisors on your board are not recommended as the productivity of the team is likely to take a hit.

Know Your Limitations

Excellent leaders seek out excellent advisors and the best advisors for your business are those who fill knowledge gaps within your company. They will also not be afraid to share their opinions and offer differing perspectives. You may not always like what they have to say, but you will be a better leader for hearing it. You can’t do everything and you can’t be an expert on every topic or every issue that comes across your desk. But an advisory team will help you get there.

Set Expectations

Even though advisory boards are more informal than boards of directors, it’s important to set expectations and ground rules on any time expectations, responsibilities and duration of service. Consider a written document outlining your board’s responsibilities and logistics, such as meeting frequency, expected time commitment and compensation, if any. Quarterly meetings as a group with individual meetings as needs arise is a good framework.

Remember, your business advisory board does not have authority to make business decisions; it will offer advice that you can either take or dismiss. Speak frankly about your business goals are and explain that you don’t expect them to take on an active management role or assume any liability for your company or for the advice they offer. Providing written indemnification for each participant is appropriate.

The advisory board experience should be interesting and beneficial for all involved. Being on your board will expose members to new ideas and perspectives, and also offers mentoring, networking and social opportunities that make the experience worthwhile. At the very least, you should cover any expenses members incur to attend meetings, and provide meals when you get together. You could also consider a per-meeting fee that might range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on commitment.

Email Rea & Associates to learn more ways a business advisory board can help you become a better business leader.

By Chris Roush, CPA (Millersburg office)

Are you looking for more insight into the effectiveness of a business advisory board? Check out these articles.

Getting By With A Little Help From Your Friends

Why It’s Important To Have A Good Banker As Part Of Your Business Advisory Team

This Is An Intervention – Step Away From Your Business

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Where Can You Get Cash for Your Business?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

All businesses need cash to operate. Without it, you can’t repay expenses let along find new ways to grow your business. But where can you go to find that needed cash? There are only three options: an investor, a bank or within your business. (more…)

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Do You Need a CFO?

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Outsourced CFO Services Support Small Businesses

Do you ever feel like you can’t seem to get your arms around costs? If so, you could probably benefit from the skills of a CFO. The following are other signs that you may need a CFO:

  • You regularly bounce checks.
  • You don’t have immediate access to financial information when your banker asks for it.
  • Your budget and forecasting is lacking.
  • As an owner, you have your hands in too many things to focus properly on your finances.
  • You can’t answer the question, “How much money did you make yesterday?”

Most small business owners face at least one of these issues; however, they don’t have the need or resources for a full-time CFO. These owners often rely on a controller, bookkeeper or office manager to manage the internal accounting function.

Sound familiar? If so, you need to recognize that even though these people can do an excellent job for you, a CFO can bring additional skills to the table. You’ll probably wonder how you ever got by without this kind of person. (more…)

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What Does a CFO Do?

Friday, May 25th, 2012

A CFO, or chief financial officer, is the financial head of an organization. Usually reporting directly to the CEO, or chief executive officer, a CFO is responsible for keeping an organization financially healthy.

CFOs work in businesses, not-for-profit organizations and even some government entities. They are responsible for the finances, but what all does that entail? A CFO has four “COAR” areas of responsibility:

Cash Flow
Operations
Accounting
Revenue (more…)

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