The Critical Importance of an Advisory Board
One of the key Best Practices we stress for every leader of a Missional Enterprise is having a well-formed, active Advisory Board.
Having an Advisory Board brings many benefits to the missional enterprise including expert advice, guidance, financial acumen, outside perspective, protection from unwise decisions, and accountability.
The book of Proverbs often mentions the wisdom of counselors:
- “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” (Proverbs 1:5 NASB)
- “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in the abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 11:14 NASB)
- “Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.” (Proverbs 15:22 MSG)
Your chances are definitely better with many advisors!
However, they need to be the right kind of advisors. First, all of them should be committed followers of Jesus. Second, each member should be able to give advice consistent with the vision God has entrusted to you. Family and friends who love you but do not have appropriate experience or expertise will not be able to provide the kind of help that you need.
Consider the following as Advisory Board members:
- A local ministry leader who can keep you connected with local ministry strategy.
- An experienced businessperson in your same industry.
- An experienced businessperson who understands finance and capitalizing small and growing businesses.
- A person who can connect you with potential capital (loans or equity) for your business.
- A Missional Enterprise Practitioner who has experience in building and growing a business to fulfill the Triple Bottom Line.
Advisory boards are involved in such issues as (but not limited to):
- Vision, goals, and strategic plans for the business (long-term and short-term).
- The financial status of the business – budgets and financial statements.
- A high-level view of personnel and operational systems.
- Any major decisions, issues, challenges, or concerns affecting the business.
- Evaluating progress toward the Triple Bottom Line.
- The health of the Missional Enterprise owners and their families (spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc.).
The number depends on the needs and stage of the enterprise. At least three members would be good for a small or start-up business. An established business should have five to eight members on the Advisory Board. An Advisory Board should meet at least bi-annually. Quarterly may be better if needed, and possibly even more often during the start-up phase. Meetings will cover a review of the items listed above. Communication between meetings should include monthly or quarterly financial statements, updates on any pressing issues, progress on key goals, etc.
Even with these guidelines, setting up a great advisory board takes trial and error. Each business is unique, and it may take some experience to see what works best for you. Don’t expect to get it perfect right out of the gate. It will likely take a couple of iterations and adjustments along the way.
For more insights about establishing and maintaining a healthy advisory board, check out this helpful post from BAM Global:
Verse of the Week:
“Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in the abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 11:14 NASB)
Let’s meditate on how we can experience the truth of this proverb more fully this week, relying on the abundance of counselors God desires to provide for us.