The benefits of a virtual advisory board

Could your business benefit from the expertise and insight of an advisory board?

Even better, consider setting up a virtual advisory board. The rapid advances in video conferencing technology, accelerated by the constraints imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, have made virtual advisory boards more accessible and cost-effective than the in-person version.

The role of an advisory board

An advisory board is a selected group of subject matter or market segment specialists who can provide your leadership team with advice and expert knowledge to support business planning and business growth. They could, for example, provide insights and guidance on topics such as:

  • Corporate strategy
  • Risk management
  • Team structure
  • Innovation
  • Emerging digital trends
  • New markets and products
  • Overall profitability.

Unlike your board of directors, however, an advisory board does not have financial and legal responsibilities for corporate governance as defined in the Corporations Act. Their role is to advise and guide business leaders, but not to make final decisions for the business.

Additionally, an advisory board may have a defined and limited lifespan and frequently changing personnel, unlike a board of directors which exists in perpetuity and has a strict legal format for appointing and removing members.

Why you might use an advisory board

Major corporations can afford to hire all the talent they need to promote business planning and steer corporate strategy. Smaller organisations with a more restricted budget, or larger ones with temporary needs beyond their regular horizons, could benefit from the capabilities of an advisory board to:

  • Help execute a specific business strategy where internal expertise is not available
  • Take advantage of external objective views to guide decision-making
  • Plug a skills gap that cannot be filled internally or by hiring
  • Introduce new ideas on how to maintain market share
  • Assist in identifying and shaping growth strategy in order to prosper in a competitive market
  • Benefit from positive association with the type of thought leaders or industry luminaries who are often prepared to sit on advisory boards

The benefits of a virtual advisory board

Advisory boards are not a new idea. Face-to-face meetings of such groups, on the premises of the businesses they were advising, have long been a common occurrence. But one of the lessons learned from the pandemic is that in-person interaction, though sometimes desirable, can often be superfluous, inconvenient, or temporarily impossible.

Consider these advantages of an advisory board that meets virtually, using a platform such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom:

  • You can tap into global expertise because the composition of your virtual advisory board is not limited by geography. This can add an international perspective and allow you to access new markets.
  • Shorter and more frequent meetings can be held as needed, without unnecessary inconvenience to participants with a busy schedule.
  • A virtual panel can be more agile and react quickly to the changing needs of your business and a highly competitive marketplace.
  • Travel and food and beverage expenses, and possibly venue hire and accommodation costs, are eliminated. Your advisory board becomes more cost-effective.
  • Meetings need not necessarily be synchronous (when all members attend at the same time) but could be asynchronous (with some or all attendees pre-recording their contribution). This removes time zone and scheduling conflicts, and ensures that all voices are heard equally.

How we can help

Bentleys’ advisors have long-term experience in helping businesses to uncover the benefits they might tap into by appointing an advisory board. They can assist you in identifying possible advisory board members ideally suited to your business and its needs, and support you in establishing your board.
What’s more, our Business Systems teams are experts in the latest cloud-based secure meeting technology. Contact your local Bentleys advisor today to find out how a virtual advisory board could facilitate your business planning and give you a competitive edge.

Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and should not be relied on as advice. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs and seek professional advice before making any decisions based on this information.

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