The Power of a Board
When people mention “board meetings” or “board of directors”, some may feel intimidated and think that this practice is reserved to big, corporate businesses. Thinking big, even as a small business owner, is vital to your business’s success.
A board meeting is immensely valuable in your organisation, operations and management. Having a group of people to jointly discuss & oversee the activities of the company and reflect on your business in a regular basis, will help in accountability in moving the business forward. Pausing to work on the business is an ideal time to recognise the progress, challenges & opportunities that the business may face.
Business can all be too time consuming if you do it alone. There are a lot of questions to ask and reflect on a daily basis: What’s working? What’s not? What are the opportunities? Is it time to expand? Is the team performing? Here’s where a good board will prove effective.
A good board will make sure you make decisions for the right reasons and not based on your own personal biases. You can avoid rash decisions based on emotions by having a number of people sitting with you through the twists and turns of a business. Here are tips to organise and make an effective board:
1. Prioritise. Set your calendar and book your board meetings regularly.
Align with your board members and make sure to set and lock in your calendars with a regular board meeting schedule. A once a month meeting is ideal, or a quarterly one as a minimum. It is the most important meeting you can commit to, so don’t let it get pushed to the side.
2. Commit. Get all the key stakeholders to attend.
It is important to have all key stakeholders and members gathered in one place. This is a time to interact and communicate face to face – without distractions. The board meetings can also be a time to focus all the attention to one common subject and have a progressive discussion on the business. Every member has the right to know the state of the business.
3. Present. Small business should act like a big business owner.
A Majority of the ideas and plans for a business are typically locked inside the owner’s mind.
Just as CEO’s of listed companies present to their board, so should you. The simple act of preparing to present is incredibly effective at forcing the entrepreneurs to distill their thoughts from thought bubbles into tangible, well thought out concepts. This invariably provides results in greater insight into the business & ensures focus on key issues. This focus then allows clarity around the action steps to be taken to improve the business
In return, a good board member will listen, ask intelligent questions and challenge the presenter on any statements made.
4. Innovate and adapt. Open your board and avoid a narrow mindset.
Be strategic about your choice of board members. Make sure you have a diverse set of people. Have someone with experience from another field is ideal. A trusted ally from the outside who can offer new ideas and avoid assumptions that lead to the status quo. Remember: “If everyone in the room is thinking alike, then no one is thinking”. I strongly recommend you have people you respect and look up to, preferably someone who has a history of success in his/her chosen field.
5. Keep it simple. A board does not need a lot of people.
An effective board doesn’t mean a group of a huge number of people. A board for management purposes can consist of just one other person. As long as you respect them & have trust in them to challenge you, then this is fine. You don’t need a dozen board members like a listed company.
6. Network. A Board doesn’t need to cost you much.
A board member doesn’t have to cost you an arm & a leg.
There are many talented executives willing to mentor and give back to the community. Look into your extended network and you’ll discover that there will always be people who are glad to help. For the cost of a lunch once a month you will likely be able to tap the wisdom of someone with decades of experience.
7. Reflect. Look at the big picture.
In summary, board meetings are essentially for looking at the big picture. It is a time to reflect and assess where your business is at the & where you see it in the future. It is a time to assign, conceptualise, innovate and plan projects. It is a time to look back, ask challenging questions, and make some good decisions & go forward with confidence & energy. I urge you to do it regularly and with commitment. If you do, you’ll see that your business, cash flow, and your overall way of life will improve in no time.
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