Friday, February 17, 2012

Are You Board Material

Every once in a while someone comes up with a really new and novel way to approach an old problem. If you are starting a business or trying to grow one, you may want to establish an advisory board staffed with knowledgeable people with relevant experience, good insights and whom you trust. A new site has been introduced where potential advisors can register and entrepreneurs, small business owners or managers can post their needs and desires, or troll for possible candidates.

I have served on many advisory boards for companies that sell products and services aimed largely at the corporate CIO community. As a former CIO it is easy for me to provide some perspective and feedback on new product designs, packaging, messaging, pricing and other marketing mix factors. Having been one, I know how CIOs "see" these offerings, how they think, how they are likely to respond and the daily challenges they face. This allows me to help companies focus their efforts, better target and ultimately improve their success rate.

Of course my academic credentials and years of experience both in consulting and as senior management in medium and large companies also provides a number of skills which small business owners might find attractive in their advisors. These have lead to several opportunities outside of the CIO realm. But up until now, those opportunities have been limited.

This week I ran across BoardMyBiz.com, a site recently established for the sole and express purpose of matching advisors to companies. Created by Kathleen Murray, this site allows anyone to create an account using an email address or connection to LinkedIn. There are step by step instructions for potential advisors to complete a profile.

Company owners can list their requirements along with the specific needs they have, the industry and where they are located. These openings are displayed offering advisors a menu of opportunities each with a simple one button application process. The site houses a messaging system, discussions and a blog. It has a clean and simple design.

In the past, advisory boards have been formed and staffed with people who are typically hand selected. As an example, key customers or early adopters might be invited to the inner circle. LinkedIn with hundreds of millions of profiles is a huge source of talent which can be mined for this purpose.

BoardMyBiz is a fresh, new approach and as it becomes more widely known might be the better alternative for choosing your next set of inside advisors.

Captain Joe

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