It's common sense that as the quality of your advisory board goes up, so does its ability to deliver measurable outcomes for your company.
Although it might be easier to convince your friends and college buddies to become board members, their advice probably won't generate the kinds of results you're looking for.
So you can see why smart business owners place such a high value on advisory board recruitment. Competition for the best business advisors is fierce with any number of small business owners aggressively recruiting top leaders to their cause. To gain a recruitment edge you'll need to step up your game, and apply the same amount of energy and strategy as you do to landing a big client.
Although there are no guarantees that you will be able to recruit the best and the brightest advisors, the amount of effort you put into board recruitment will eventually pay off in the form of a more qualified and more capable board.
- Aim high. Even though you probably won't land the biggest names in business, it's important to aim high in your recruitment efforts. National figures are out of reach for most small businesses, but it doesn't hurt to reach out to some of the most influential business leaders in your region or local community. You might be surprised how many seemingly "unreachable" leaders are willing to actively advise small business owners.
- Be creative. Don't limit yourself to your existing business network. Get creative and go outside of your existing contact base to recruit advisors from diverse industries and fields of expertise. The local Chamber of Commerce and small business groups can be excellent referral resources for out-of-the-box board recruits.
- Discern motivations. There are all kinds of reasons why successful business leaders might want to participate in a small business advisory board. Try to discern what motivates potential recruits and use that information to secure commitments.
- Leverage contacts. Your contact list may or may not be a good source for board prospects. But you might know people who can introduce you to high profile leaders capable of making a positive contribution to your advisory process. You can also leverage your current advisors' Rolodexes to recruit additional board members.
- Define commitments. Busy leaders tend to be scared off by open-ended commitments, especially when they don't have a financial incentive for unlimited involvement. Clearly define the term and participation requirements to make it more appealing for new recruits.