5 Essential Steps for a Successful Advisory Group

No one can run a successful business in today’s complicated and rapidly changing world all by him/herself. Operating in a vacuum limits both your perspective and your opportunities. But imagine how successful your business would be if you could regularly tap the combined business knowledge of a successful and trusted group of experts in their fields – experts whose sole purpose is to help you with the many and varied business decisions you face each day. That’s what starting an Advisory Group could do for you.

  • Represent a variety of disciplines (marketing, HR, sales, production, finance, management), and perhaps are attended by 1-2 members of your management team.
  • Total no more than 4 to 6 people.
  • Are people you already know, trust and respect; and who have proven track records in their own fields.
  • May have no direct relationship to your business, so their input is thoughtful, unbiased, and “outside the box” to help you address your business challenges.
  • Focus solely on your business – its profits, growth, goals, strategies, human and other resource management, etc.

There are 5 essential steps in developing a strong Advisory Group:

  1. Assess your management style and your staff. Where are the knowledge gaps or areas needing improvement that an Advisory Group Member could fill?
  2. Focus on your goals. Where do you want to go with your business? What support do you need to get there?
  3. Define the level of support and time commitment you need. Are you looking for Group members to function as an integral part of your management team, or just provide an outside perspective? How often will you want to meet? Be clear about your expectations for time and expertise commitment as you recruit your Group members.
  4. Analyze your circle of acquaintances and professionals. Top candidates for consideration include experts in your specific field as well as successful business owners in parallel or related industries. Such resources can provide priceless input about your major customers and strategies. Your financial advisors (CPA/business advisor, banker, etc.) and attorney are excellent resources to help you locate the various experts you will need, and may also be good candidates for Group inclusion.
  5. Decide how you will compensate your Advisory Group. Fees for Advisory Group members range from nominal ($500) to a flat fee per meeting of perhaps $2500, especially if the Group is expected to review materials in advance of the meeting. In either case, appropriate expenses should be covered for the Group members in recognition of their time and contributions.