VirtualBoard Next Meeting: April 26, 2016

VirtualBoard, a unique peer organization that helps entrepreneurs, CEO’s and business owners maximize the value and efficiency of their companies, will conduct its next Atlanta meeting on April 26, 2016.

Jeff Berman, Esq., Attorney & Shareholder with Berman Fink Van Horn PC will host the meeting.  More information will be made available regarding the topic of the presentation.  You won’t want to miss this talk.  Learn the facts and gain actionable insights for immediate use in your business! 

VirtualBoard Sponsor-Advisors include: Jeff Berman, Esq., Attorney & Shareholder, Berman Fink Van Horn PC, Don Bravaldo, CPA & Partner, Bravaldo Capital Advisors; Mark DuCharme, President, DuCharme Communications; Suzanne Durbin, ChFC® & Partner, GV Financial Advisors; Jim Ecksteim, Partner, The Angel Advisors; and Barry Klein, CPA & Partner, Babush, Neiman, Kornman & Johnson, LLP (BNKJ).

Event Details
Attendance is open to VirtualBoard members, sponsor-advisors and invited guests.

  • What:    VirtualBoard Atlanta
  • When:    Tuesday, April 26, 2016, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Social Hour from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Information:    CLICK HERE.

VirtualBoard generates REAL VALUE for business owners by capitalizing on the synergistic power of a board of directors.  Here are FIVE WAYS that VirtualBoard would ADD VALUE for you and your business:

  1. Business-owners leverage each other’s diverse range of experience and knowledge.
  2. Professional sponsor-advisors share their invaluable expertise and insight to help boost your business.
  3. Targeted, actionable advice means practical solutions for your most pressing business challenges.
  4. Personal accountability that leads to greater performance and clarity to focus upon key issues.
  5. Bi-monthly, one-on-one executive coaching sessions that assure owners make the best possible decisions which result in the improved value and efficiency of their business.

What could VirtualBoard mean to YOUR SUCCESS and the success of YOUR BUSINESS?  To find out, please CLICK HERE.

“Standing on the Precipice” at Next VirtualBoard Atlanta Meeting

VirtualBoard, a unique peer organization that helps entrepreneurs, CEO’s and business owners maximize the value and efficiency of their companies, will conduct its next Atlanta meeting on October 21, 2015.

Jim Eckstein will present a thought-provoking presentation entitled “Standing on the Precipice.”  You won’t want to miss this talk about taking the next step.  Learn the facts and gain actionable insights for immediate use in your business! 

VirtualBoard Sponsor-Advisors include: Don Bravaldo, CPA & Partner, Bravaldo Capital Advisors; Mark DuCharme, President, DuCharme Communications; Suzanne Durbin, ChFC® & Partner, GV Financial Advisors; Jim Ecksteim, Partner, The Angel Advisors; and Barry Klein, CPA & Partner, Babush, Neiman, Kornman & Johnson, LLP (BNKJ).

Event Details
Attendance is open to VirtualBoard members, sponsor-advisors and invited guests.

  • What:    VirtualBoard Atlanta
  • When:    Wednesday, October 21, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Social Hour from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Information:    CLICK HERE.

VirtualBoard generates REAL VALUE for business owners by capitalizing on the synergistic power of a board of directors.  Here are FIVE WAYS that VirtualBoard would ADD VALUE for you and your business:

  1. Business-owners leverage each other’s diverse range of experience and knowledge.
  2. Professional sponsor-advisors share their invaluable expertise and insight to help boost your business.
  3. Targeted, actionable advice means practical solutions for your most pressing business challenges.
  4. Personal accountability that leads to greater performance and clarity to focus upon key issues.
  5. Bi-monthly, one-on-one executive coaching sessions that assure owners make the best possible decisions which result in the improved value and efficiency of their business.

What could VirtualBoard mean to YOUR SUCCESS and the success of YOUR BUSINESS?  To find out, please CLICK HERE.

"Anatomy of a Successful Exit" at next VirtualBoard Atlanta Meeting

VirtualBoard, a unique peer organization that helps entrepreneurs, CEO’s and business owners maximize the value and efficiency of their companies, will conduct its next Atlanta meeting on August 19, 2015.

Don Bravado, CPA & Managing Partner with Bravado Capital Advisors, is the host and featured speaker.  He will present "Anatomy of a Successful Exit," a CASE HISTORY that showcases the business owner’s SUCCESSFUL EXIT from a specialty chemical company.  He will also share an UPDATE on the current M&A MARKETPLACE.

VirtualBoard Sponsor-Advisors include: Don Bravaldo, CPA & Partner, Bravaldo Capital Advisors; Mark DuCharme, President, DuCharme Communications; Suzanne Durbin, ChFC® & Partner, GV Financial Advisors; Jim Ecksteim, Partner, The Angel Advisors; Barry Klein, CPA & Partner, Babush, Neiman, Kornman & Johnson, LLP (BNKJ); Rhys Wilson, Partner & Co-Leader, Mergers & Acquisitions, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.

Event Details
Attendance is open to VirtualBoard members, sponsor-advisors and invited guests.

  • What:    VirtualBoard Atlanta
  • When:    Wednesday, August 19, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Social Hour from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Information:    CLICK HERE.

VirtualBoard generates REAL VALUE for business owners by capitalizing on the synergistic power of a board of directors.  Here are FIVE WAYS that VirtualBoard would ADD VALUE for you and your business:

  1. Business-owners leverage each other’s diverse range of experience and knowledge.
  2. Professional sponsor-advisors share their invaluable expertise and insight to help boost your business.
  3. Targeted, actionable advice means practical solutions for your most pressing business challenges.
  4. Personal accountability that leads to greater performance and clarity to focus upon key issues.
  5. Bi-monthly, one-on-one executive coaching sessions that assure owners make the best possible decisions which result in the improved value and efficiency of their business.

What could VirtualBoard mean to YOUR SUCCESS and the success of YOUR BUSINESS?  To find out, please CLICK HERE.

Tax Strategy Impacts the Value of Your Business

Does your business have a tax strategy?  As a CEO Coach I’ve found that an owner is typically more concerned with finding opportunities to boost short-term income than about implementing a tax strategy that delivers longer-term results.

For a business owner, an effective tax strategy helps lead to maximizing the value of their enterprise.  This becomes extremely important when an owner decides to sell or transition their business.  What should an owner do to prepare?

Our members gained valuable insight into the need for a tax strategy at our recent VirtualBoard meeting.  Our presenter was Barry Klein, a CPA and Partner with Babush, Neiman, Kornman & Johnson, LLP.  For more than 25 years, Barry has helped numerous closely held businesses prepare for and execute successful transitions.  Barry stressed that if a business and its owners are able to pay less taxes through sound tax strategies, it could be very attractive to buyers, and hence, result in a greater value at the time of a Sale.

Here are some key points from Barry’s presentation that demonstrate the value of having an experienced CPA and tax advisor looking out for one’s interests:

1.  Here are a few of the ways owners can decide to exit their business:

  • Strategic Sale
  • Just take it.” (Someone offers to buy your business and you accept whatever is offered)
  • Sell to a friendly buyer, locate an acquirer, or sell to VC/Private Equity buyer
  • IPO
  • Liquidate the assets

2.  An Exit Planning Team is essential to generate the maximum Value for the company (includes a CPA, M&A attorney, Investment banker, and Financial advisor).

3.  Audited financials are important as they reassure potential buyers that the numbers are accurate and can be trusted. Business owners should begin having audits performed 2-3 years in advance of seeking a buyer.

4.  Incomplete or missing tax registrations and/or multi-state tax filings can be red flags to potential buyers, so it is vitally important to be in compliance.

5.  Look for potential areas that may provide valuable tax savings, such as:

  • Deferred compensation plans for key employees
  • Qualified retirement plans
  • State and other business tax credits, which offer greater value than deductions
  • Maximize depreciation through Cost Segregation studies
  • Conservation easements
  • Captive insurance

Having an experienced CPA and tax advisor who has helped owners successfully transition their ownership is critical to Long Term Success. The role of your Exit Planning Team is to help you make your company more attractive to potential buyers.  What could that mean for you and your future?  Please let me know if I can help.

Alan

Meritocracy dead?

In an article published today in the WSJ, national economics correspondent Nick Timiraos reports "American Meritocracy Isn’t What It Used To Be,...".

I believe nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr. Timiraos refers to the work of Harvard University political scientist Robert Putnam in justifying his eye-catcher of a headline. 

Robert Putnam, seems like a good-enough guy after all his bio describes him as:

Raised in a small town in the Midwest and educated at Swarthmore, Oxford, and Yale, he has served as Dean of the Kennedy School of Government. The London Sunday Times has called him “the most influential academic in the world today.”

I come from a small town in the mid-west.  To have this type of bio leads me to think Mr. Putnam either grew up no better than middle-class - as the majority of small town mid-westerners do - or perhaps he grew up in one of the wealthy families in that small town.  

If the first case be true then clearly, with that resume, Mr. Putnam is a prime example of the vitality of 'American Meritocracy'. Otherwise how does a poor kid from the middle of America get to Swarthmore, Oxford, Yale and end up at Harvard. Now he was likely motivated to do better, found the right mentors, and certainly would have had that all too famous mid-western work ethic.  'American Meritocracy' worked for him, why does he believe it is no longer available to the millenials.

Mr. Timiraos documents well Mr. Putnam's answer to that question:

Most sobering, Mr. Putnam said, are data from a 2000 analysis showing that a family’s socioeconomic status has become more important than their educational aptitude in predicting whether an eighth-grader would graduate from college.

Socioeconomic status more predictive of college graduation rate than educational aptitude, think about it, ...wait on it..., as my kids would say.  The natural follow on of course being - graduation from college - as the key to moving one up the socioeconomic staircase. Is there anyone else out there right now saying, "No, Duh!".

Wait, stop the presses - HERE'S the NEWS:

1. Rich kids have a better chance to succeed. - Anybody here disagreeing?

2. A college education can and often does help one achieve an increase in the socioeconomic status. - Anybody for disagreement on that fact?

I don't think we'll find any dissenters, so what's the story here?  The story of course is that a study from 2000 (that's 15 years ago for those of you counting) shows #1 is now MORE important than #2.  

For this Mr. Putnam has written a book, and he needs us to buy it, not for the least of which reason is so he can further prove through his example the vitality of the "American Meritocracy".

If the second case be true, that of Mr. Putnam growing up in a wealthy family, then I would suggest that his conclusions are at best disingenuine and absolutely dangerous to the minds of our youth of all socioeconomic strata:  

Hey poor kids listen up, a rich kid is telling you: "give up", "it doesn't matter what you do you can't make it anywhere out of here", "not only are those bad grades going to keep you in this hole, but your mom and dad - IF they are around - are poor, and kids of poor people just cant make that American Dream come true - says so right here - so it must be the truth".

You gonna believe him?

I apologize if I have offended anyone with this post.  It was not my intention.  But as my son told me the other day, when I was challenging him on this very subject, he said "Dad you live the American Dream".  I do.  

Meritocracy worked for me.  Did the system favor me?  Maybe - I'm a white male - most people think that helped. But my socioeconomic status would never have been described as 'wealthy'.  I worked my way through college, it wasnt easy and my 2.85 GPA at graduation can attest to that, and my 'educational aptitude'. I worked job after job that gave me greater and greater levels of authority and autonomy.  You don't get passed on to those levels without hard work. Because it worked for me I will continue to the best of my ability to make sure it works for everyone, and I will never believe as apparently Mr. Timiraos and Mr. Putnam do that American Meritocracy just doesn't work anymore. 

I am sure Mr. Timiraos and Mr. Putnam are good guys, just trying to make a buck like the rest of us, but don't believe them.  The American Dream is alive and well, supported actively by American Meritocracy. If you want to live that dream, be respectful, honest and hard working.  Don't listen to folks who tell you 'it wont work' or 'you cant do that'. Find mentors, people are good, and they'll believe in you, if you believe in yourself. Finally, love people and take a genuine interest in their success in life, and you'll be amazed how they take a genuine interest in yours.

Jim

The Value of Sponsorship

Clients often ask me if involving their companies in sponsorships can lead to new business.  Providing that the group or event is the right “fit,” sponsorship can be an effective component of a business development strategy.

Typically, sponsorship combines excellent opportunities for building relationships along with exposure on both business and personal levels.  This makes sponsorship a viable means of reaching a targeted group of prospective customers.

There are two sides of sponsorship, what I call “the giving and the getting.”  This is the value of what you bring to the organization and the value you may derive as a result of that association.  Value is more than simply the direct cost in dollars or time: value can be raising awareness of a company within a particular market, which may translate into a financial return.

Here is an example of how a company may benefit from sponsorship.  I’ll talk about this in terms of VirtualBoard, as I have first-hand experience there and have seen the results sponsors derive from their involvement in the group.

VirtualBoard was created specifically to help entrepreneurs and business owners prepare for and execute the successful ownership transition of their business, with the goal of maximizing the value of the company.  This unique peer group is comprised of entrepreneurs and professional advisors, and is lead by a board chairman.

In VirtualBoard, we refer to our sponsors as “advisors” because they counsel and interact with the business owners.  Advisors include CPAs, M&A attorneys, investment bankers, financial advisors, intellectual property specialists and related professionals, all specializing in successful businesses transactions.  Significantly, there are no direct competitors within a VirtualBoard community.

Any business, especially, a professional service business, strives to go above and beyond the expectations of their clients.  VirtualBoard sponsorship is a way of doing exactly that.

For example, think about your own business.  Imagine being able to give your client (or prospective client) the gift of tapping into a team of specialists, a team that includes yourself, in which you are positioned as THE expert in your field.

Through the gift of sponsorship, your client would receive invaluable professional assistance from you, along with the collective wisdom of the other advisors.  This helps the business owner maximize the value of their company.

What would this mean for you?

  • An opportunity to deepen your relationship with your client.
  • Strong relationships with 12 business owners who could use your services.
  • Showcasing your expertise through professional presentations and group participation.
  • Potential revenue from members of the group and from their networks.
  • Referrals from the other advisors.
  • Increased visibility for yourself and your company.

While peer groups are not a new concept, VirtualBoard is a new concept in peer groups.  Think of VirtualBoard as a peer group on steroids.  If you are involved in helping transact the sale or transition of a business, VirtualBoard sponsorship may offer you an ideal opportunity to help you grow your business.  Please let me know if I can help.

Alan

VirtualBoard Sets Date for June Meeting in Atlanta

VirtualBoard, a unique peer organization that helps entrepreneurs, CEO’s and business owners maximize the value and efficiency of their companies, has set June 24, 2015, as the date of its next Atlanta meeting.

Rhys Wilson, Partner and Co-Leader, Mergers & Acquisitions with Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough LLC of Bravado Capital Advisors, will be the host and featured speaker at the meeting.  He will present valuable information for business owners from his perspective in the M&A industry.  More details will be made available concerning the presentation.

VirtualBoard Sponsor-Advisors include:  Don Bravaldo, CPA, Bravaldo Capital Advisors; Mark DuCharme, DuCharme Communications; Suzanne Durbin, ChFC®, GV Financial Advisors; Jim Ecksteim, Partner, The Angel Advisors; Barry Klein, CPA & Partner, Babush, Neiman, Kornman & Johnson, LLP (BNKJ); and Rhys Wilson, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.

Event Details
Attendance is open to VirtualBoard members, sponsor-advisors and invited guests.

  • What:    VirtualBoard Atlanta
  • When:    Wednesday, June 24, 2015, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Social Hour from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

VirtualBoard generates REAL VALUE for business owners by capitalizing on the synergistic power of a board of directors.  Here are FIVE WAYS that VirtualBoard would ADD VALUE for you and your business:

  1. Business-owners leverage each other’s diverse range of experience and knowledge.
  2. Professional sponsor-advisors share their invaluable expertise and insight to help boost your business.
  3. Targeted, actionable advice means practical solutions for your most pressing business challenges.
  4. Personal accountability that leads to greater performance and clarity to focus upon key issues.
  5. Bi-monthly, one-on-one executive coaching sessions that assure owners make the best possible decisions which result in the improved value and efficiency of their business.

What could VirtualBoard mean to YOUR SUCCESS and the success of YOUR BUSINESS?  To find out, please contact me.

Alan

The Employee “Work From Home” Dilemma

CEOs often struggle with allowing employees to work from home.  Certainly, it has become a more common and accepted practice over the years—but that doesn’t mean it is right for every business or for every employee.

Often, it is the employee who brings up the subject of telecommuting and invariably focuses upon the perceived productivity aspect with an argument such as:  “I won’t be wasting time getting to and from the office or be hindered by the distractions in the office.”  The CEO immediately thinks about the the distractions that are present in a home environment along with the lack of direct supervision, and considers their impact upon productivity.

If you are facing this dilemma, it is vital to carefully evaluate the situation prior to acting upon it.  Here are five initial questions to ask yourself as you begin the process:

  1. Do I trust this person to do their job to the best of their ability while working at a remote location?
  2. Will there be a loss of control and/or coordination issues as a result of this change?
  3. Will this create internal issues such as jealously among employees who may see this as preferential treatment?
  4. Will this impact my management style?
  5. How this affect the company’s culture?

Next, evaluate the potential benefits you feel may be realized by allowing an employee or employees to work from home, such as:

  • Lower overhead cost
  • Increased productivity
  • Greater employee motivation and loyalty
  • Expanded time-zone coverage
  • Wider pool of job applicants

Telecommuting presents potential drawbacks that require careful consideration along with actionable alternatives that can be implemented to minimize their impact upon the business.  I’ve already mentioned some of them, but their are important enough that they bear repeating:

  • Loss of control/collaboration
  • Greater effort to coordinate projects/schedules
  • Jealousy among employees who are not allowed to telecommute
  • Loss of influence/breakdown in company culture
  • Isolation
  • Legal issues concerning working hours/length of day, etc.

Successful business owners demand productivity and accountability from their employees, regardless of their location.  Some CEOs take a “cut and dried” position of not allowing employees to work from home while others are more flexible.

Rest assured that if “Work From Home” hasn’t come up yet in your organization—it is only a matter of time until it does so.  How will you handle it?  Please let me know if I can help.

Alan

Operating Agreements Lead to Successful Meetings

Does your company use Operating Agreements to establish guidelines for conducting meetings?  And if so, are those Norms followed?

At a recent peer-group meeting involving business owners and professional advisors, we kicked off by going through the agreements one by one and gaining consensus among all participants, prior to starting to work through the agenda.  The Operating Agreements were posted on a wall in the conference room, and remained clearly visible for the duration of the day.

Operating agreements insure that everyone in the room is “on the same page” and also help create a framework for productivity.  We’ve been conducting meetings with this group for more than a year now, and the agreements have enabled the group to have more meaningful discussions because it encourages candor, trust and mutual respect.

Here are the conditions we follow in our peer-group meetings:

  • Confidentiality
  • Electronics off during meeting
  • One person speaks at a time
  • Take responsibility for your own learning
  • Give the facilitator permission to facilitate
  • Listen first to understand
  • Speak out of your own experience
  • Offer feedback without judgement

Meeting agreements aren’t just for peer-groups, of course—the same principle applies to any type of meeting, and with a bit of thought, you can craft an operating agreement that works for your organization.

  Keep in mind that simply having agreements doesn’t mean someone won’t “slip up” and violate one of the conditions.  When it happens, simply remind the person, stress that they agreed to the conditions, and move on.

Could your meetings run better?  Are people clear about how to behave while they are in the meeting?  Please let me know if I can help.

Alan

Why Transition Planning is Crucial for Business Owners

I’m often surprised at the responses I receive when I mention transition planning to entrepreneurs and business owners.  They typically say it isn’t a consideration as they plan to own and operate their company for a long time before they might sell or bring in a new chief executive.  Unfortunately, circumstances can change--sometimes suddenly or even catastrophically, and without a strategy in place, the business may suffer, and in the worst case, cease to exist altogether.

Let’s face it:  business owners work hard to build their companies and often times, it is their single greatest financial asset.  As such, it must be protected to achieve maximum value at time of sale, or provide stability and security for the next generation of ownership.

Transition planning (also known as succession planning) is vital because it helps increase the likelihood that a business will continue to operate effectively in the event the owner sells, retires, or passes away unexpectedly.  It provides for a logical and methodical transition, in the event it becomes desirable or necessary.

A transition plan helps address key issues such as:

  • Protecting and controlling the future of the business
  • Equitable sharing of the financial rewards of the company with family, etc.
  • Reducing estate taxes
  • Distributing ownership/stock among family members who participate in the business
  • Retaining key employees

Over the years, I’ve worked with clients who established transition plans and were able to leave their companies in a strong position, having successfully meet their goals and expectations.  On the other hand, there were clients who avoided such planning, only to find themselves wishing they been more diligent and farsighted.  Sadly, I’ve also experienced a tragic case in which a business owner passed away unexpectedly, leaving the company to his wife.  She had had no involvement in the enterprise and was suddenly faced with being the chief executive in a business she knew little about; the company floundered and eventually folded.

Is transition planning right for you?  Some of the questions to begin asking yourself are:

  • Who will take over/operate your business?  Does that individual have the background, experience and passion to run the business effectively?
  • Will there be sufficient resources to hire someone with the background and expertise to run the company, if needed?
  • Are there partners involved?  What if something happens to one of them or if they desire to leave the business?
  • Are family members involved in the company?  What are their expectations?  How does one avoid family conflict that could ruin a business?

What value could you bring to your business through transition planning?  Participation in a VirtualBoard can be a solid first step toward developing a transition plan, as well as helping address the ownership and management aspects of the business. Please let me know if I can help.

Alan

Using the Vision Driven Growth Model™ to Assure Your Company’s Success

I already have a strategic plan--or do I?

Business owners often mistakenly equate having a “strategic plan” with a written mission statement, company values, objectives and a vision for the future.  Those elements are only a small part of a meaningful strategic plan.  When a “plan” results from an incomplete and ineffective process it offers little value, and is quickly forgotten until the following year.

Is your plan just an item to be checked off your “to do” list, or is it a logical, comprehensive document that establishes a meaningful direction for your company’s success?

Being Vision Driven Positions Your Company for Success

The Vision Driven Growth Model™ is vital to a business owner because it provides a comprehensive, logical and proven approach that builds upon the mission statement, company values, objectives and vision for the future.  It elevates the effectiveness of the plan through an objective, methodical, guided process that insures all relevant aspects of the company are addressed and analyzed.

The Vision Driven Growth Model considers both what to do and what not to do.  It involves evaluating and documenting key scenarios to determine the proper courses of action for circumstances that may occur.  It results in a plan that establishes direction, provides for contingency and allows the business owners to respond quickly and confidently to changing market conditions.

The Key Components of the Vision Driven Growth Model include:

  • Customers & Markets
  • Mission & Vision
  • Culture & Values
  • Talent Management
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats
  • Choosing the Right Strategies
  • Competitive & External Forces that will Shape the Future
  • Goals & Objectives
  • Key Performance Drivers
  • Implementation & Execution

What value could you bring to your business through the Vision Driven Growth Model?  Please let me know if I can help.

Alan

* Vision Driven Growth Model™ is a trademark of The Angel Advisors.

Learning from the Board of Directors model

One of the most striking differences between a typical entrepreneurial business and a Fortune 500 company isn’t the size--it’s the “governance.”  Larger companies often have a Board of Directors to provide oversight, guidance and direction.

The good news is that entrepreneurs, CEO’s and owners of small businesses can close the “governance gap” through an innovative initiative created especially for them--it’s called VirtualBoard, and it is powered by The Angel Advisors.

Why You Should Consider VirtualBoard

Simply stated, a VirtualBoard helps members become more effective at operating their businesses--something any entrepreneur will appreciate.  What is especially intriguing about the VirtualBoard approach is that it involves adopting the perspective of preparing one’s company as though it will eventually be sold.

That’s a sound, smart concept because it leads to maximizing the value of the business, whether it is sold or not.  Also, it achieves results by focusing on the ownership aspects of the entrepreneur’s role as well as the managerial and leadership elements.  VirtualBoard has proven itself to be especially helpful for business owners who are considering the next steps in the growth and development of their companies.

VirtualBoard consists of:

  • Peer-based “board of directors” model
  • Sponsor-advisor supported membership
  • Professional sponsor-advisors and mentors
  • 12-14 members
  • Bi-monthly VirtualBoard meetings
  • Bi-monthly one-on-one professional CEO coaching
  • Accountability and confidentiality
  • Dynamic and synergistic
  • 2-day annual retreat
  • Exclusive web-based issue forums

How could participation in VirtualBoard help you and your business?  Please let me know if I can help.

Alan

Understanding Advisory Boards

An Advisory Board provides an independent source of information and advice to business owners and executives concerning the strategic issues and risks relating to their companies.  Establishing an advisory board provides a structured methodology to accessing valuable wisdom and experience and then applying it to the benefit of the organization.

The duties and responsibilities of an Advisory Board are exactly as you define them through a written role description that helps prevent misunderstandings and establishes the level of commitment you expect. Typical responsibilities include:

  • Understanding your business plan, industry trends, and market conditions that impact your company
  • Providing wise counsel on issues raised by the owners and executives
  • Encouraging the exploration of new ideas and markets
  • Acting as a resource to company executives
  • Monitoring business performance and challenging the executives/management to consider options for improving the business

The authority of the Advisory Board is identified by planning the tasks they will perform and how their role is described.  An Advisory Board is not governed by legal statutes, so it can operate in any manner that meets the needs of the business.  The Advisors need only the amount of authority required to fulfill the role and responsibilities you have defined for them.  At a minimum the Advisors should expect:

  • To receive a written agenda in advance of each meeting
  • That management provide performance metrics and background information on strategic topics and challenges in advance of each meeting
  • That the company provide a written document that clearly describes the role of each advisor
  • While Advisory Board members have no legal fiduciary duty, they should receive written indemnification to protect them from potential liability

Think about your own business and how it would benefit from an Advisory Board, by asking yourself these questions:

  • What would you expect an Advisory Board to do for you?
  • What are the expectations that Advisors would bring to the table?
  • For each of your other stakeholders groups, such as employees, spouse, family, bankers, bonding agent, vendors, CPA, etc. – what would they expect?

How could participation in an Advisory Board help you and your business?  Please let me know if I can help.

Alan

Choosing an Assessment Tool

As an Advisor and Coach to Entrepreneurs, I’m in “the relationship” business.”  I thrive on learning what it is that makes an owner “tick” so that I can help him or her use their talents and abilities to succeed, both in business and in life.

It takes time to develop deep insight into another person’s personality and truly understand what drives, motivates or sabotages them.  While there is no substitute for personal interaction, it is very valuable to identify key “personality” traits early in the Coaching relationship.

Assessment tools can provide this insight and having researched the possibilities, I sought the advice of a friend who is an industrial psychologist and well versed in assessment tools.  He advised me, “You need a tool; you need the Birkman.”  After closer evaluation, it was clear that he was right.

The Birkman® Method is different from other assessment tools because it identifies a person’s “needs” which are crucial in any business or personal relationship.  Significantly, it doesn’t define a personality or behavioral characteristic as a weakness.  Instead, it becomes a point of understanding.  Overall, the Birkman Method is a positive tool that helps me understand the person, and at the same time, helps the person understand themselves.

By using this tool, I’m able to accelerate the progress we can make together.  Here are some of the reasons that we adopted The Birkman® Method:

  • Scientifically developed, multi-dimensional assessment tool.
  • Helps you achieve more at work and at home.
  • Integrates behavioral, motivational and occupational data together to predict behavior and work satisfaction across situations. 
  • Helps improve people skills and aligning roles and relationships for maximum productivity and success.

The Birkman® Method is a proven tool for helping companies select new team members, assess and develop new leaders, improve team performance, deal with conflict and produce better results for the organization

What could this powerful personality assessment tool mean for your and your company?  Please let me know if I can help.

Alan