It’s fairly common as an entrepreneur to have a wish list a half mile long, even with a great team rockin’ things out. Most of the time, entrepreneurial instincts serve you well in what to tackle next on the list. Until one day, a bump in the road pops up that challenges those instincts. Then what?
For example, let’s say there’s a dip in sales that has lasted more than a couple of months. You might be asking:
“Is this just a blip to be waited out? Does this mean it’s time to embark on the branding campaign I’ve had on the back burner? Would PR be a better bet? Is our sales team doing something differently? Is it time to add to the sales team? Has my competition come up with a new a product we’re missing? Did our competition change their pricing? Is it something else entirely?”
Ideally, you’ve got a management team and something like the EOS process to help Identify, Discuss & Solve (IDS) the issue. If not, there’s another road to clarity that every entrepreneur has access to – a board of advisors. An advisory board can be as formal or informal as you like, all capable of serving as a sounding board and think tank for your business.
Granted, when you’re tackling a tough issue, wrangling up an advisory board is likely to sound like yet another thing there’s no time for. If you’re in a tight spot, take a breath and start simply. Call up someone for coffee that understands at least one key aspect of your business. Bonus points if they’ve got experience with a slightly larger business than yours and can bring that added perspective. My experience has been that people enjoy the chance to be of service and are more than willing to help. And that spending time with someone who can help you step out of the forest and take the 40,000 foot view might just be the single best thing you can tackle on that list.
For more in-depth tips on starting an Advisory Board and how it differs from a Board of Directors, see “How to Assemble a Board of Advisors” from Inc.