Get your life back! Calendar Control for Busy People
January 9, 2013
Start well - Reinvent now
When I launched my current company in 2002, one of the best business strategies I employed to accelerate my launch was to create an advisory board. This scared me to death because I felt ill equipped to afford each professional's expertise but I desperately wanted to succeed with my new idea. You see, after a failure in my first business launch I'd built my second organization to 1/2 million under the umbrella of a national brand. You know the deal, for myself but not by myself.
Here I was , launching my third venture, I was now a company of one. My assets were my experience, tons of leadership training, my ability to overcome challenges, my first book under my belt, a strong network and personal brand, a few coaching clients, and a strong belief in my big vision but NO significant cash reserve. All I had to lose were my time and pride and yet everything to gain.
I'd read Napoleon Hill's Keys to Success: The 17 Principles of Personal Achievement and discovered I had a few keys working for me with my positive mental attitude, applied faith, and definiteness of purpose. The power of the mastermind alliance was a new concept especially as it described the application related to an advisory board. Again, with nothing to lose I made my requests.
Here's how creating a board of advisers can work, guerrilla style:
Get clear on your objective. Exactly what do you want your advisers to do for you? Help you vet your idea? Give you their professional feedback? Point out the blind spots? i.e. In 2002, my objectives were to have the leaders I selected point out my blind spots with a program I wanted to license. (If what you want is professional services you really should be paying for them.)
Make a target list of advisers you feel would add the most value. You don't have to know them well. Plan on a diverse group to get a broad spectrum of ideas.
Set a date for the advisory board session(s) far enough in advance so those who decide to participate can plan.
Contact each person individually and make the request. Plan for coffee or a get acquainted call. Be as concise as possible and share your objective clearly.
Follow up with each person. Thank them for their time regardless of a yes or no. For those who said yes, email a detailed thank you with logistics for the upcoming session(s). Reiterate your objective and desired outcome. Ask if there is anything you can do to reciprocate.
Do your homework. Prior to scheduled session, prepare a presentation as you would for an investor. Make it clear and concise with specific requests.
Lead the advisory board session with confidence. Introduce each of the players and share why you selected them. Watch the time so you can dismiss in the time you promised. Make your case. Share what you know, state your assumptions, and ask for feedback.
Rinse and repeat, as needed.
Note: I provided lunch, once a month, for 6 months. I kept the meetings to 90 minutes. You could duplicate this or any variation. I targeted a banker, attorney, business development consultant, international entrepreneur, and a CPA.
Why am I bringing this up now? Over the past 3 years I've been watching small business after small business drink the Kool-aid, buying into programs, hiring experts who've made a million (or 6 figures) doing what they want to do. (Yes, I will admit, I've bought into some of those same programs too.) The problem is...those leaders are not YOU and I. As a result, it's likely you've added many processes that are superfluous to your core offering, detracting from that brilliance your prospects are hungry for ending up with an over complicated model making it hard for you to reach those who truly need you.
Picture trying to build the Titanic when you only need a small speed boat to reach your destination.
So the question becomes, "How do you course correct when you are mid-game?"
My answer: Pretend you are starting over. What would you do if you didn't know what you think you know? You'd ask for help. [Read that sentence again slowly.]
My question for you, "Are you done struggling yet? Are you anxious to step away simplify, streamline, and remain agile? Are you ready to try something different?"
If your answer is yes, let's go!
Stop going round and round trying to see into the crystal ball to predict the future. End your frustration with "what isn't working" today. Create a focus group or assemble an advisory board, and be willing to have your presumptions shot down so you can simplify,
Sure, brutal honesty it isn't fun but yields incredible results. There is a market waiting for you to show up and do what you do best!