How To Build Your Board With Intention

The idea stage: Tap into priceless expertise.

The earliest stages of a company are overwhelming. You don’t know what you don’t know. You may be entering an entirely new market or field; you probably don’t have a giant rolodex of critical contacts just yet; you’re testing for product-market fit; your business model is rapidly coming together (or falling apart).

The product stage: get serious about your strategy.

What happens when you gain some traction and hit revenues ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions? This is what I refer to as the “product stage,” where you may have a combination of individual advisors at your side and a formalized board of advisors. The individual advisors serve as critical connections as you build your rolodex and seek to gain credibility in the outside world. And, your Board of Advisors guides you as you determine product-market fit.

When you’re gaining traction: find those who can help you scale.

In the tech world, hitting revenues of millions and multi-millions is impressive, but there’s much more to be had. As you take in more investor dollars, the pressure is on to drive value and dramatically increase your customers and revenue.

When you’re scaling: Be prepared to address any threat and any opportunity

As companies mature and hit the tens of millions in revenue and higher, it’s critical to place even more structure around your board so you can gain the most value. This means you need to not only give thought to the value your board members bring to the table, but also to the greatest challenges your business is facing. You should be molding your board to address these challenges.

Make your board your greatest competitive advantage.

Forming a board takes work, and managing a board takes work. But founders and CEOs who work to build boards, starting from the very early stages, gain immediate ROI. And established companies who put thought and strategy into their board structure gain a competitive advantage in a market where every move counts.

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