July 22, 2019
SETTING UP AN ADVISORY BOARD: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HARD
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In my work as a franchise advisor and “reluctant consultant,” I’ve helped a growing number of franchise organizations establish boards. These aren’t Boards of Directors with fiduciary responsibility, but advisory boards to keep leadership accountable and help the business grow.
It’s not something that many franchisors think about – especially when they are a smaller, emerging brand. But that’s exactly the right time to get started: when things are calmer, steady and drama free. The best time to set one up is before you wish you already had! If you do it in advance, then you’ll be able to use it before you wish you had one – make sense?
I call my consulting business “Next Level Franchise.” Why? Because having a well run advisory board can lead to a higher level of professionalism and help take the entire organization to the next level.
Here’s how my 90-day process helps franchisors get started with a new advisory board for the business and brand:
During the first 30 days, we dig into “the why.” Why do you want to establish a board? What issues do you have (or wish you had)? What do you know needs attention and what results do you expect?
Over the course of a few phone calls, (and some light reading homework) I’ll talk to the franchise founder/CEO or leadership team to lay the groundwork so that we’re all in agreement in terms of why we’re creating a board and their overall expectations for its role in the organization.
Next we tackle the who: who’s going to serve on the board and what experience do they bring? Generally speaking, you want to include people who are smart (in at least one core area) and that you deeply trust. Family and trusted friends are good places to start, as these are individuals you can count on to run the business in your absence if you’re suddenly unable to lead.
To round out your board, it’s likely that you’ll also want to include a finance person, maybe a technology expert and perhaps someone who knows your brand industry well (perhaps a retired competitor or vendor with lots of experience and connections).
Now that we have the board set up and know what we want to achieve, we’ll get to work preparing for the first meeting. This includes the creation of an agenda and the gathering of some introductory materials so that your board members can get better acquainted with your business and their mission before they meet for the first time.
Once the date arrives, I’ll facilitate the meeting, take notes, and give some actionable advice to the owner(s) so that they can keep the momentum going. Typically, I advise my clients to have their boards meet on a quarterly basis. This could be a two-hour phone call or a half-day, in person event depending on the situation and timing.
A lot of people think it’s easy to set up a board. And while it doesn’t have the be too hard (with the right help), most franchise owners see success more easily when they have someone there to hold them accountable and show them examples of what a truly effective board looks like.
If you’d like to talk about the benefits of establishing an advisory board for your franchise brand – and the growth opportunities that await you – I welcome you to please contact me.
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