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How an advisory board can help with your business growth

Advisory boards are increasingly playing a key role in Australia’s small business’ success stories with 74 per cent of those using advisory boards seeking assistance with their growth strategy.

Speaking at the Global Thought Leadership Summit today, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said that “Advisory boards are a secret weapon in the growing small business’ arsenal.”

“While the small business owner is often flat-out with the day-to-day running of the business, advisory boards are able to realise the SME’s potential by working on the business, not in it.” 

Carnell explained that advisory boards can help to set a clear plan forward and help the small business owner focus on growth rather than getting distracted while putting out spot fires.

“Advisory boards have seen considerable growth in Australia in the past couple of years, but many SMEs continue to consider themselves too small or not successful enough to engage an advisory board.

Carnell highlighted that the benefits of advisory boards have been measured in other parts of the world.

“The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) surveyed over 4,000 businesses across the country and found sales grew by 66 per cent on average in the first three years after setting up an advisory board.

“The BDC survey found annual sales for businesses with an advisory board were 24 per cent higher than those without one.” 

Carnell also said that advisory boards can be particularly useful in succession planning, which she said “a significant issue for Australian family businesses”.

“Importantly advisory boards don’t need to be a huge cost or time consuming for the small business owner. You can arrange to pay a meeting attendance fee and meet every two-to-three months.”

Practical resources on setting up an advisory board 

Australian financial consulting firm Pitcher Partners has published a detailed six-part series on assessing whether your business could benefit from an advisory board, how to find the right board members, and how to establish a structure that drives value for your business. 

The Australian Institute of Company Directors provides a case study on how business growth can be achieved by establishing an advisory board. 

And business website’s Forbes and Entrepreneur have step-by-step guides to getting the most value from your advisory board. 

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