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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 05 July 2022
  • Tiffany Carey

Why You Need a Personal Board of Advisors

When you have your own business, you’re the boss. You’re in control. You’re responsible for making critical decisions and it often happens alone. But it doesn’t have to.

woman business owner shares work experiences with friend

Gathering a core group of talented individuals you can lean on for advice and support can help. Referred to as a personal board of advisors or a personal advisory board, they act just like a board of directors would for any company. They make recommendations for the strategic and future direction of the corporation as well as help CEOs stay accountable.

As a small business owner, a personal advisory board would provide similar services to you, but one significant difference is that you get to choose who sits on your board.

Before we explore exactly what types of advisors should be part of your personal board of advisors, it’s essential to dive deeper into the duties and functions of the board.

Why should I have a personal board of advisors?

Members of your personal board can guide you through policy-making and problem-solving. We live in an age where there is an unlimited amount of information available which is helpful but can also be overwhelming. Sometimes talking through the data and possible outcomes with a board member can serve you more efficiently. They act as a sounding board and can provide real-time advice.

Your advisory board can also share their experiences in certain situations to give you options, a fresh perspective, and alternative solutions or plans. Veteran advisors are able to provide insight into a problem and solution they’ve potentially already solved and implemented.

Another benefit to having a personal advisory board, is that they become advocates for you and your business. They have influence in their communities and can share your offerings with people in their networks to help grow your clientele.

Who should be on my personal advisory board?

Generally speaking, your board should consist of 4-6 individuals with diverse backgrounds. Members can be of any age or at any stage of their careers. You want your advisors to provide unfiltered, unbiased advice so it’s usually better to not include immediate family members on your board.

Each member should bring a unique aspect to your board. For example, one person can be your greatest cheerleader or another could be an individual who works in your field. Find a member who has been through similar circumstances or experiences in your current business life stage (transition, growth, etc.).

How do I ask someone to be on my personal board of advisors?

First, map out a list of individuals who come to mind then carefully edit that list to ensure it’s diverse and valuable to you. Next, decide exactly what it is you want to glean from each member. If someone has extensive experience in hiring and you’re in a growth stage of your business, what are a few questions you would ask them? Get specific and be clear about your expectations for each member.

It might seem like a lot of legwork before you’ve even asked an individual to join, but by knowing precisely how you plan to use their expertise, you can better articulate your needs and why their perspective is valuable.

Depending on your current relationship with a prospective member, you could simply make a call and relay your appeal to them. Some may respond better to a more formal approach like an email or written invitation. Alternatively, if you are considering someone you do not have a relationship with then start by connecting with them on LinkedIn and cultivate a relationship that way.

Finally, as you build your personal board of directors, keep in mind that members are granting you access free of charge. In exchange, it’s important that you provide value and be considerate of their time. Express your appreciation by reciprocating and you’ll reap the benefits in the long term.

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