How To Build Your Personal Advisory Board
By: Avil Beckford
Earlier this year at an Ellevate Network Toronto event, we talked to Marg Hachey about how a personal advisory board helped her to run a successful business. She is the Managing Director of GroYourBiz and CEO of Operation Evergreen Business Group. Marg has ranked in the top 10 of the Top 100 Women Business Owners in Canada for 11 years, and she used her personal advisory board to accelerate her company’s growth 1100% in six years.
A recent study revealed that 93 percent of small to medium enterprises attribute their success to mentors. No business, or professional for that matter, can succeed without the right kind of support, and the support needed changes at different life cycles of the business and person’s career.
Having a personal advisory board is a way to differentiate your business because there are people you can call on when you have questions, allowing you to work smarter. Marg’s personal advisory board offered support and advice that she used to grow her company to over $50 million. She sold the company, and in three years the new owners drove it into bankruptcy. On the advice of her personal advisory board, she bought back the company and built the business again. What we can learn from Marg’s experience is that if we have the right support, we can achieve major accomplishments.
Today, Marg builds personal advisory boards for other businesses. If you are interested in creating an advisory board for your business or for yourself, start assessing your needs. For instance, when you assess your skills, what knowledge gaps do you find? Identify the skills you’ll need to develop to work on a new project and achieve your professional goals this year, as well as the best way to market your products and services.
After you have assessed your needs, ask yourself what the fastest route is to get what you need. Who are the people who can help you to get the best information? Look at your service providers, the experts in your industry, and the speakers at conferences that you’ve attended. Also, look at the people you have direct access to: which of your online friends have you had interesting and enlightening conversations with? Which ones have values that align with yours? Who can provide you with what you need?
Offer to take someone out for a meal to get his or her advice, or have a phone conversation; whichever is more convenient for your prospective advisor. Always be upfront with your expectations, and give the other person the opportunity to say “No” without it being awkward for them.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Johanna Pulgarin is Program Manager at Ellevate Network, where she concentrates on managing the existing membership benefits program, and plays a key role in the development and administration of future benefits. Through conversations with users and future members, her goal is to engage the community and help foster meaningful connections through Ellevate's online platform. Continue Reading
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