Why Should an Entrepeneur Have a Personal Board of Directors?

On my podcast called EXTRAordinary Women, which has launched in the last couple of months, I had the pleasure of interviewing a lady named Shelley Svoren from the United States.  Shelley had worked at the most senior levels in corporate finance and within the aviation sector throughout her career.  In recent years she has launched her own company called Infinite Branches, where she continues to work in the investment sector with a vast range of clients. 

EXTRAordinary Women Podcast with Shelley Svoren

EXTRAordinary Women Episode with Shelley Svoren

The Concept of a Personal Board of Directors

During our interview Shelley shared some golden nuggets of information relating to always having your own personal board of directors.  By this she meant, as an entrepreneur you won’t have the luxury of having a formal, paid board of directors, but that you do need to seek out people whom you trust who can play these parts when you need them.

This innovative approach involves assembling a group of trusted advisors who provide guidance, support, and expertise to help entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of running a business effectively.

In this week’s article I look at what is needed when building your own ‘board of directors’ whether you are a solopreneur or an owner of a small business.  Here are some points to consider if you’re thinking of broadening your support network.


Think of It as an Investment in the Future Success of the Business

Entrepreneurs are often faced with a myriad of decisions ranging from strategic planning to operational execution. Having a ‘Personal Board of Directors’ can provide invaluable insights and perspectives that can help entrepreneurs make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes.


Benefits of Having Diverse Perspectives and Expertise

You will benefit from having diverse perspectives and expertise:One of the key benefits of having a ‘Personal Board of Directors’ is access to diverse perspectives and expertise. Whether it’s financial management, marketing strategies, or industry-specific trends, having a diverse board can provide entrepreneurs with a well-rounded view of their business landscape.


The Importance of Mentorship and Guidance

No person is an island! Experienced advisors can serve as mentors to entrepreneurs, providing valuable advice, coaching, and support as they navigate the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. This mentorship can be instrumental in helping entrepreneurs develop their leadership skills, expand their networks, and overcome obstacles on their path to success.


Personal Accountability and Strategic Planning

As an entrepreneur it is very easy to get distracted by the next shiny object.  A ‘Personal Board of Directors’ can also help entrepreneurs stay accountable and focused on their strategic goals. This accountability mechanism can be crucial in maintaining momentum, fostering discipline, and driving strategic planning efforts for long-term growth.


Five Steps to Enlist Support

When looking to enlist support, you should consider the following five steps:

  1. Identify Potential Advisors: Look for individuals who have the knowledge and experience you need and who have overcome obstacles similar to those you face.
  2. Choose Wisely: Select advisors who know more than you in areas where you need guidance and support. Consider a mix of peers, senior professionals, and mentees to provide diverse perspectives.
  3. Build Relationships: Establish genuine connections with potential board members by offering support and showing respect for their perspectives and opinions.
  4. Communicate Your Needs: Clearly explain why you want their assistance, what their involvement will entail, and how their expertise can benefit you.
  5. Offer Value: Show your appreciation by offering support in return, whether it’s sharing your expertise, making introductions, or providing assistance in areas where you excel.


Balancing Challengers and Cheerleaders

Finally, it is crucial to have a balance of “challengers” and “cheerleaders” on your board, ensuring that there is a mix of perspectives and support mechanisms.  Sometimes your friends and family will tell you ‘You’re doing great’ but they may not know what pitfalls to avoid. 


Personal Experiences and Recommendations

For me personally, as my business evolves from year to year, having a strong support system in the form of a ‘Personal Board of Directors’ can be a game-changer for aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike.  I have found the Local Enterprise Office a great starting point and always a huge source of support.  Along with this I have friends in business, who are around 10 years down the road ahead of me, and I look to them for advice every once in a while.  When you ask for advice, you must be prepared to listen!


Your Personal Board of Directors

By following these steps and approaches, you can effectively attract individuals to join your ‘Personal Board of Directors’ as an entrepreneur, creating a supportive network of advisors to help you navigate challenges and drive your professional growth.

Want to hear more from my conversation with Shelley Svoren on the EXTRAordinary Women podcast?You can find the episode as well as other episodes on YouTube, Spotify and on our website.