If you look hard enough, you just might find a local volunteer advisory service that will provide your business with key counsel that can stop quick decline and dramatically improve your profitability. Different from boards of directors, advisory boards provide recommendations which entrepreneurs are not required to take. Regardless of whether or not you choose to follow such advice, they can, at no cost, help you better direct your business.
In looking for professionals to populate your advisory board, we suggest you start with the following two resources:
The Small Business Association. Their motto is “programs and services to help you start, grow and succeed.” The SBA is an independent agency of the federal government designed to promote small business. With district offices located across the nation, the SBA can help you access training, counseling, and other small business specialists. Their site also provides other valuable links.
Score. Calling themselves the Counselors to America’s Small Business, Score is a nonprofit organization that is “dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide.” They are also a resource partner with the SBA that provides free online and face-to-face mentoring using a counseling force of nearly 12,000 working and retired business owners.
Create Your Own Advisory Board
You can also create what’s called ‘strategic partnerships’ or ‘natural business relationships’ designed to provide benefits you might find with a voluntary advisory board. These strategic partners are business professionals who share your target market but do not offer competitive services. They are individuals with whom you can share ideas, advice, and yes, referrals. But more than that they literally become a work force that buoys your business, enabling you to labor more efficiently and enjoy great profitability.
For your team you might select a lawyer, a public relations specialist, a business coach, and/or a banker. In order to be successful, these strategic partnerships must be symbiotic, meaning they are beneficial to both parties. Through these partnerships you can receive the counsel you all need to forge forward, towards greater success. And with your accounting expertise, you can compensate them for their time with free services.
There are countless places you can meet these potential partners. Chamber of Commerce meetings are a great place to start, especially if you are a small, local business owner. There you can build relationships with like-minded professionals who are interested in building these valuable partnerships. In addition to these formal networking opportunities, consider all the people you currently interact with, including family, friends, associates, neighborhood businesses, and establishments you frequent. The next time you meet these individuals take the time introduce this idea of strategic partnering; you could well be on your way to more profitable relationships.
Pair Your Advisory Board with Business Assessments
Business owners benefit from seeing how their business compares to others in the same industry. They benefit from recognizing their weaknesses and knowing what they can do to improve. They benefit from seeing how different business approaches could impact future operations. They benefit from being proactive business owners.
BizBench is a multi-purpose financial analysis and consulting tool that diagnoses a business’s fiscal health. It does so by identifying strengths and weaknesses instantly, and generates potential action steps to improve areas of weakness. Using BizBench, financial professionals can help their clients and themselves identify strengths and performance gaps in order to create specific strategies that will increase profitability. You could even use it to help those on your advisory board improve their businesses!
UAC has always recognized the value of providing businesses with such crucial data. That’s why we offer BizBench subscriptions with software updates that include a new look and streamlined functionality. Call Universal now at 877-833-7908 to improve your business by ordering your BizBench subscription and training.