Entrepreneurs love the idea of upping their game. Everyone wants to earn the big cash, cushy benefits and rockstar recognition that a very successful business creates.
In fact, most entrepreneurs lust after the trappings of a bigger business – even if they value running a tiny, agile team or being solopreneur.
In the perfect world, entrepreneurs would be able to enjoy corporate levels of success, right? Most assume it’s impossible.
This post reveals a single business tactic that rockets your business to the level of top corporate enterprise. Without the giant staff or hassle. The best part? You can begin right away.
The biggest difference between an entrepreneur and the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is psychological.
Of course, the CEO is going to spend their time working on slightly different activities. However, they also operate differently at a strategic level. A CEO thinks different thoughts.
By thinking and acting more like a corporate executive, an entrepreneur can boost the performance of their business. That doesn’t mean hiring a team and delegating everything either.
There’s just one thing you need to do to start playing a bigger game, right now.
Build a team above you, without building a team
Many people forget about one of the most important parts of a corporate business – the board of directors. This is the team above the CEO – the bosses of the boss. Most boards give membership to the people who own significant equity (shares) in the company concerned. In a publicly listed company, you can literally buy your way onto the board of directors by trading on the stock exchange.
The board of directors is responsible for reviewing the CEO’s strategy. They’ll assess the game plan, providing advice and guidance on how to move forward. This works out well, since company directors are typically very successful people – that’s how they got to where they are.
The CEO has to sell their big decisions to the board. A grand new marketing plan on the cards? A significant investment in new hardware needed? The CEO will have to convince her board that the decision is a good one that’ll benefit the company.
Ultimately, the CEO is accountable to the board – she’ll provide regular updates on how the business is tracking toward it’s objectives. If the board doesn’t like what they hear? Well, the CEO could be out of a job!
What about the lonely entrepreneur?
If you’re running a tiny business, you’re both the CEO and the board of directors. It’s wonderfully liberating, but there are some big unanswered questions:
Who is keeping an eye out on your performance?
Who is evaluating your strategy and gameplan?
Who is making sure you hit the targets you set?
For most entrepreneurs, the answer is “no one”. But it doesn’t have to be.
You might not want to offer up shares of your business to get hold of some directors, but that doesn’t stop you forming your own advisory board.
Ask for help from your mentors and friends. Hell, sign your mum up for the job. Build an advisory committee of people who’s opinions matter. They don’t need to be business geniuses. It’s actually a fantastically good thing if you have to work hard to explain things clearly (and simply) to your board.
Pick people who’ll offer unique insight, who’ll cut through any bull**** and be constructively critical when it’s required. I wasn’t kidding about asking your mum – I know mine would be perfect! A coach, good friend, fellow entrepreneur or sibling are all great people to invite too. If you really want to shake things up, ask your accountant to step in.
Meet quarterly and present your strategy and goals for the months ahead. Update the board on your past quarter’s performance.
Can you imagine the change in thinking this one simple strategy would create?
By convening an advisory committee or board, you add instant accountability into your business. Suddenly you have to justify your decisions and plans. Procrastinate now and you’ll have to hang your head when you report a lack of progress at the end of the quarter.
An advisory committee delivers an injection of old school, big-business reality. It makes what you’re doing real by forcing you to rationalize and coherently communicate your business strategy. Simultaneously, a board forces you to take a good hard look at the actual results you’re currently producing.
Big business thinking in a little business. Corporate results with all the freedom and fun of entrepreneurialism.
Above all else, your advisory board need to ask quality questions and keep an eye on business results. These are the kind of questions a board asks a CEO:
- What are your goals for the next quarter?
- How are you going to be (more) profitable this quarter?
- What wins did you experience last quarter? What setbacks were there?
- What makes your current offerings different from the competition?
- What’s your exit strategy and succession plan? (What happens when you want to retire?)
- Why are you spending so much money on <insert your largest overhead here>?
This tactic is a game changer.
If you’re reading this with a vague, clenching sensation of apprehension (be honest) then it’s probably something your business needs. If you fear sharing your results and plans with an audience, that’s a good sign that this exercise is one you need to commit to.
I’m passionate about high leverage tactics – small changes that create big results. This one is one of the best.
An advisory board transforms a business from half-assed to rockstar faster than anything else I know. It’s relatively painless too, once you overcome the initial fear of genuine accountability.
Have you got what it takes?