How a Monthly Board Meeting Became the Backbone of my Business
As I’m writing this I’m on the train, on my way back from my monthly board meeting for KREW.
I never used to have an “advisory board” until 1,5 years ago. Now it’s a crucial element of my business. Even though the value of these meetings is so high to me, I realise that a lot of people may have never even considered creating a board for their businesses.
In this article, I argue why you might want to consider creating a board for your company, even if you’re “just” a one-(wo)man-show.
What is an advisory board? 🤔
To me, an advisory board is a small group of people with relevant experience that can help you make the right decisions for your business. In a way it’s much like having a mentor, but in this case it’s not just one person. It’s several.
I meet with my board once a month — at the same time and place — to share progress and to set new goals.
What’s unique about our board is that we go beyond just high-level strategy advice. Instead of short 1-hour sessions, we now easily talk 2 to 3 hours. In this extra time, we brainstorm. We discuss what we can do to make the product more valuable for our customers by having short 30-minute brainstorms on certain topics that need special attention.
And I like that! 😎🙌
The fact that we can change the board meeting into whatever makes it work best for us is great to me. Fuck it that other people might laugh at us. That “this is not a true board meeting” in their eyes.
It is to us. And I feel like this way of having board meetings helps me, as a solo business owner, most.
Why did I start? 💡
“Ask me to create something and I’ll be done in a flash. Ask me to decide on what to create and I’ll take forever.” — Marc Rodan
That’s it, really.
In the beginning of KREW, I was all over the place. I felt overwhelmed with possibilities. I knew I wanted to create a more personal and authentic community for entrepreneurs, but I didn’t know where to start.
“With a coworking space? An online community? Online courses? Offline events? Online meetings? A ‘business’ dating app?” I even considered a gym just for entrepreneurs.
In the end, I kind of ended up doing all of these things at once. With little success, as I’m sure you can imagine.
I was great at creating, but horribly bad at prioritising what to create. Because I was alone. I was in my own head all the frikkin’ time. So I sought outside help from people who believed in the vision behind KREW and wanted to see it become a reality. Just like me.
How to create your own advisory board? 🚀
If you struggle with the same things as I did, you might want to consider creating your own advisory board. I’d recommend it to any entrepreneur.
After all, you can just try it out for three months – three meetings – and then evaluate. The time investment for all parties involved is relatively low and you’ll quickly be able to understand whether it’s time well spent.
The way I started was by simply talking to people about my idea.
I went to a bunch of different coworking spaces in town – because that’s where entrepreneurs are, who happened to be the target audience – and just told people about my idea.
Those people would then often introduce me to people from their coworking community, saying something like “you should talk to him about this”.
That’s how I met Ali.
Ali was the first person who really seemed to understand where I wanted to go with KREW. I loved that he was weird like me. A different kind of weird, for sure, but I felt like I would want people like him in the community.
From one meeting came the next, and then another one. And eventually, we spoke of setting up an advisory board.
Ali had many years of experience with Toastmasters – a global community for people wanting to become better at public speaking. That experience combined with his understanding of the vision for KREW made him a great first board member.
Together, we decided on who to ask next and over time, our board grew to 4 members with Ashton (on the far right) joining for the first time tonight.
Without them, I’d likely still be all over the place. Now I feel calm, focused and like we’re making steady progress towards realising our vision.
Don’t forget to bring cookies 🍪🍪
Of course, I still feel burdened sometimes to ask for other people’s time. Especially since all of my board members tend to run successful businesses themselves and are extremely busy. That’s why I ask for feedback regularly.
I ask things like “how do you feel about today’s meeting?” or “what do you think we can do to make the board meetings more valuable?” or “what can we do to create clear expectations?”.
This is how we came up with an advisory board agreement: a one-pager that outlines our expectations towards each other. It’s how we went from a 1-hour to a 3-hour meeting with multiple brainstorms and dinner. And it’s how I got to bring cookies to every meeting – you can actually see one of tonight’s cookie wraps on the picture above.
So my recommendation to you is: have fun trying out what works for you! 💪
An advisory board can be anything you want it to be depending on your business stage and personal needs. As long as you keep evaluating and improving the board meetings themselves, I’m sure they’ll turn out as a long-term and valuable addition to your business.
Just like they did for me.