Of Advisory Boards, Apples, and Ambition
Ever notice how an increasing number of organizations promote themselves through an advisory board?
Advisory boards are great IF you (a) choose the right people, and (b) can be clear about the function that you want your "advisors" to serve. The downside these days is that too many companies are hopping on the "We´ve got an advisory board" bandwagon without first clearly defining the purpose of that board.
For example, let´s say that you own a company that creates chocolate-covered apples (yum). You decide that an advisory board would enhance to your profile, especially if you could persuade some Martha-Stewart-Donald-Trump caliber folks to sign on. So you hustle around, bribing people to become members of your advisory board. You promise publicity for them"?¦not to mention a lifetime supply of chocolate-covered apples.
Ambition is excellent — but what will you say when after a few months, your advisory board members come to you one by one and complain that (a) the promised publicity for them hasn´t come through, and (b) they´re tired with apples? It´s particularly awkward if you´ve spent time and money sending out press releases announcing their presence — but never got even a nibble of attention from any publications.
My suggestion: grow your advisory board carefully, after first defining the role that you want the members to play. At Triactivekids.com, our board members are carefully chosen experts from the health and fitness fields. We ask them to consult on the growth of the company, write articles for the Web site, and discuss how TriActive Kids can be part of the solution to the childhood obesity epidemic.
So go forth and harvest that advisory board for your apple company. Just make sure that you don´t end up with worms.