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June 28, 2016 Article 1 min read
Advisory boards can energize management, smooth business transitions, and offer guidance to start-ups. But how do you choose members that can deliver those key insights?

Considering putting an advisory board in place? Advisory boards can reboot and energize a long-time management team, assist in the transition of a business to the next generation, or offer guidance to a start-up. If members are chosen properly, they deliver insight into your industry and best practices. Here’s what to consider when putting your board together:

  1. Cut through the clutter. Like the expression “They can’t see the forest through the trees,” many people become so immersed in the details that they have trouble stepping away to look at the situation as a whole. You want to choose people who won’t get wrapped up in details but, instead, can see the forest.
  2. Ensure financial literacy. Make sure appointees are fluent in the language of financial statements. When you’re asking a board to help you with a strategic plan or preparing a vision, this skill is imperative to interpreting trends, providing insight, and offering guidance for your company.
  3. Say "no" to yes-men. When it comes to building an effective advisory board, you want people who will challenge you and your management team — someone who’s a creative thinker and willing to speak out.
  4. Time matters. When selecting people to sit on your board, make sure they have the time and energy to review the materials you send ahead of time and attend meetings. They may be great prospects, but if they’re already overscheduled and overwhelmed, they won’t provide value.
  5. Network. Your board members should be well connected in your industry and community. You want someone who’s willing to make connections for you and your company, assisting you in expanding your own network.