Words by Megan Avard, Founder and CEO
A Board of Directors is crucial for guiding a business through its next level of growth and is particularly helpful for businesses that have experienced a fast-paced growth phase.
With that in mind, choose your Board strategically and it will make your business. Choose poorly, and it could have the opposite effect.
As a company grows, the need for experienced stewardship and strategic direction increases. As a Founder, I understand better than anyone that the push and pull of working within the business, versus working on the business, can be a challenge to navigate as your business grows.
With a Board of Directors, the Founder or senior leadership team are able to successfully step back from the daily operational grind of the business and refocus their efforts more intently on the strategic direction of the business.
To get to the stage where a Board is required, a company must already display a certain level of success and have a strong Founder who has complemented and supplemented the growth of the business to get it to where it is. But it is the Board who will assist in taking it to the next level.
Appointing the right Board produces better business performance, improved access to capital and management accountability, and can help with strategic direction, performance, compliance and risk management.
It is important that the Board is independent, so you can trust they will only act in the interest of your company without conflicts that will compromise their judgment. Additionally, providing a Corporate Governance structure, which provides guidelines for how your company can fulfill its goals and enhance value.
As a Founder, I know it can be a significant and scary step to hand over any element of control to external Directors – both from an emotional and a business perspective. As such, it was not a move I took lightly, and I wanted to ensure it was implemented at the right time for SurePact.
Following our capital injection from Future Now Capital, we appointed our first Board consisting of Chair, Helen Coyer and Michael Ebeid, a decision that is propelling the business forward.
While there are a few things to keep in mind when naming a Board for your company, the overarching theme is to do your due diligence.
For each Board member, ask yourself:
- What is their background?
- How does this background fit with your company?
- What are their strengths?
- How can these strengths be applied to the stage your company is at?
- Are there any conflicts of interest?
These are the first steps any Founder should take when looking at Board nominations, to ensure that whoever is appointed will be an asset to the business from the get-go.
Qualities to look for in Board members
You want to select Board members who have experience in areas that need attention in your business, or that you are less experienced in, so that they can offer sound advice. Expanding the skill set that the Board brings to the team will create a well rounded and diverse business that will strengthen your company and open up opportunities ensuring your business stays on track with its growth plan.
Mutual respect and communication
Mutual respect is a key element in having a cohesive Board. You want to select Board members who have a mutual respect for each other and for you as the Founder. This will help the Board members to work together to create the best possible outcomes.
As a Founder, you must be comfortable working with each Board member. This doesn’t mean they need to agree with you on every matter, but it is important that communication channels are open from the outset.
Appoint Board members who have experience sitting on other Boards. Experience is key, especially if those on the Board are familiar with companies who have been through a similar growth stage. That way, they can be one step ahead of any growing pains.
Use your appointed Board to increase network opportunities. Expanding the network of your company increases the resources at your fingertips to tap into.
Credibility and legitimacy
Choose a Board that will add to your credibility and legitimacy. A Board should portray integrity, which will reflect on the business directly, increasing brand trust.