Observation, thoughts, and information.

Building a Mega-Board

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When growing a business, one of the most valuable assets a CEO should build and leverage is a strong board of directors.  In a recent article on ReadWrite, Scott Gerber, founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, aggregated 12 tips entrepreneurs believe are most important when creating a startups’ board of advisors.  We list them below and comment on a few.

  1. Vest their equity over time:  This will allow for an easier separation of the board+company relationship doesn’t work out.
  2. Bring them in by the boatload:  The larger the advisory network a startup has to draw from in the beginning, the better.  This group is less formal than the board of directors.  In the early stages, a startup has so many obstacles in overcome.  Most of the folks in the advisory network bring a special skill to the table.  Understand everyone’s strengths and then use them.
  3. Be selective:  The optimal size of a board is 5-7 people.  Decisions need to be made efficiently  at a startup.  Those who have a significant equity share need to bring value to the company.
  4. Seek counsel, not advice:  You should always try to surround yourself with people who have more experience or are more knowledgeable than you are.   We’ve written about this here.
  5. Build a Fortune 500 board:  If you want to build a Fortune 500 company, start with a Fortune 500 board.  A company’s board adds credibility to the company.
  6. Listen and reward them
  7. Take your time:  Don’t rush to build a board.
  8. Bring different perspectives into the mix:  You always want to avoid groupthink.  Consider all aspects of your business and find people with those strengths.
  9. Look for passion and availability
  10. Have skin in the game
  11. Seek specifics:  Aspire to build a dream team.
  12. Be respectful:  Make the most and respect the time you have your board together.  Not all decisions are board-level decisions.