Most owners of middle-market companies are hands-on, action-oriented people. They want tangible business results from a board process. Here are several outcomes they want from their advisory board:
- Survive. Get the professional guidance and resources needed from outside that will lead to making the right changes, quickly.
- Grow sales and profitability. Generate innovative ideas for sales and instill financial discipline to build sustainable value.
- Prepare their company for sale. Identify potential buyers and ensure the company is positioned to be an attractive acquisition target.
- Provide wise counsel to the CEO. Help him or her confront difficult ethical, personnel, or customer issues.
- Strengthen the organizational structure. Assist the CEO in selecting game breakers for key positions and designing a meaningful succession plan.
- Raise equity capital. Work with management to prepare the plans, design the measurement processes and deliver the performance that will attract outside investors. Make introductions to the right investment partners.
- Support the CEO. Mentor the CEO by helping him focus on what is important, coach him on his decision-making process, and enhance his leadership skills. Hold him accountable for doing what he says he will do.
- Mitigate shareholder issues. Provide unbiased counsel and coaching to the owners, family members, and the CEO.
- Define a sustainable growth strategy. Identify alliances and acquisitions that will augment the growth targets.
- Bring in breakthrough strategic thinking. Devise an innovation strategy to grow the business.
- Build a strong culture. Move from a lifestyle to a professionally managed environment.
- Increase accountability. Provide a reporting atmosphere for management to improve tactical and strategic execution.
- Results. Show positive, reproducible and predictable outcomes.
If the advisory board delivers these outcomes, it will have enabled the company and its owners to overcome the challenges we talked about in earlier posts.