Whether it’s for a non-profit or a major corporation, boards are essential for different perspectives, ideas and professional development. While having an actual board for your business is a milestone to strive for, you can also curate a defacto board out of your personal network. Building a network that serves as your small business’ board can provide you with the same great benefits that larger organizations enjoy and can elevate your company to new levels. When putting together your go-to team, be selective, and look for the types of people we’ve outlined below with whom to begin establishing mutually-beneficial relationships.
Someone who has spent their career at large corporations
This type of person is especially important for any business owner and that’s because this person can help provide insight into various ways companies are structured – from department breakdowns to the hierarchy of positions. This person’s perspective will help fill in the gaps on how you build your business and can be a great reference for what your business is doing right and also what can be improved.
A successful career sales professional
Behind every business, there’s the aspect of sales. While sales may come easy to some, it’s a skill that must be cultivated. Having a successful sales professional in your network is golden for the small business owner who is great at what they do but didn’t come into business ownership with a sales background. This person can provide fundamentals and advice on how to properly navigate the sales process. From establishing funnels to creating packages and services to closing a deal, the insight gained from these conversations is priceless.
A career professional in your field
This person does not have to be a business owner themselves, but they do need to have done what you do for a longer period of time and at a higher level. While most industries have changed over time, it helps to have someone who has been there and done that. While the potential to have innovative conversations is definitely there, the larger takeaway is having someone who understands the fundamentals of what you do.
A good listener
This person may or may not have experience in your industry or in business at all. However, this person is great at listening and is ready and willing to give you their ear. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to talk it out and by having the opportunity to have conversations without the expectation of a response, you can do just that. In fact, by having an unbiased listener, you can often talk through things and arrive at your own conclusion or solution.
Building a personal network takes time and patience, but it’s an important aspect of business development that can elevate your company to new heights. Always remember, you are who you surround yourself with and the same can be said for your business. By placing yourself among people who are smart, talented and experienced, you and your business will benefit.