“Advisory Boards are always an extension of your company.”
– Marissa Levin
Did you know one of the most critical steps for the success of any business is having an advisory board? No matter how big or small your organization is an advisory board is a necessary component to developing and growing your business and your revenue with integrity.
On this episode of the Grow My Revenue Business Cast our guest is an expert on this topic. She is Marissa Levin, successful business owner and author of Built to Scale, a book on how to find and implement your ideal advisory board using her S.C.A.L.E. model. Get ready to take some insightful notes as we dig into all of that and more today!
Listen to this episode and discover:
- When do you need to think about your advisory board?
- Why you must be ready and committed to change when you bring on an advisory board.
- The 4 biggest mistakes Marissa sees companies make when selecting an advisory board.
- Should your compensation for your advisory board be performance-based?
- What is a restricted stock agreement and should you have one?
- And so much more…
Marissa Levin learned firsthand how valuable advisory boards are: her first company is now 20 years old and thriving, but several years ago she felt they had hit a plateau. With over 70 projects going on a time there seemed to be chaos constantly, and she couldn’t figure out how to create structure and order. One of her personal advisors suggested she create an advisory board.
With that brilliant idea in mind Marissa set out to find out how to do it, she wanted the formula and the process for finding, creating and implementing her board. But there was nothing out there aside from people who said it was a good idea and it should be done.
So she used herself as a guinea pig: she went through the process and meticulously documented what worked, what didn’t and what she learned. From that came her book Built to Scale and the now-international formula of S.C.A.L.E. On today’s show we discuss both the book and what the formula stands for so you can apply it to your advisory board.
S – Select.
This is the first component of building your advisory board. Select is about proactively choosing the right people. You must identify the holes and goals of your business: what are you lacking and where are you going?
Once you know that then you must figure out where to find the people you need to help you? What are criteria you should be looking for in your board members? What should you avoid doing during the selection process? How do you interview and vet potential board members? What legal docs do you need? All of these are questions needing to be addressed in the selection portion.
C – Compensation.
Advisory board members are typically compensated in some way for their efforts. Some companies offer stock options, equity or other forms of monetary value. There are other ways to engage and provide value to your advisors, and Marissa explains in this interview as well as in her book.
A – Associate.
This is the point during which you integrate your board. And there are 2 prongs to this integration: the first is the legal documents you need like NDAs. non-competes, etc. The second prong is how to integrate board into organizational culture. How do you make sure your board is an extension of your brand? And how can you be sure they feel they are a part of something growing, something exciting? Both prongs must be answered in this portion of the formula.
L – leverage.
Now you must figure out how can you best leverage your board. Remember it is not just about their financial investment and business development. Marissa explains some of the ways she’s used advisors in the past such as running RFP processes, and negotiating lease agreements, etc. There are many ways to leverage your board.
E – evaluate, evolve and exit.
It’s important to keep in mind that your board is a fluid dynamic entity that is always changing. If you’ve done it right you will outgrow board members, and there is a right way to go through that process as well. Marissa explains a bit more on how to have someone exit properly and how to continue looking for new advisors all the time.
Also on this episode she explains the top mistakes she sees people making when choosing their board members and how to avoid following in their footsteps, plus a great lesson on how beneficial it is to operate with integrity and the intention to help others. Listen in for all of that and more on this edition of the Grow My Revenue Business Cast!
Below are resources mentioned during the interview.
- Marissa Levin’s web site
- Built to Scale, by Marissa Levin
- The Leadership Mindset, Marissa’s column with Inc.com
- Marissa’s white paper: Six Biggest Mistakes CEOs Make When Selecting Advisory Boards – And How to Avoid Them
If you enjoyed this session with Marissa Levin, let her know by clicking on the link below to send her a quick message on LinkedIn or Twitter:
What’s On Your Mind
As always, this episode provides inspiration, entertainment, and especially an actionable message that can drive remarkable results – and if you have any questions for a future episode, contact me.