By - Sandi Webster

The Building Blocks of a Successful Advisory Board

An advisory board is a group of experienced professionals who provide guidance, expertise, and support to a company. These individuals can offer valuable insights and advice to help a business grow, overcome challenges, and achieve its goals. This article will discuss the essential building blocks of a successful advisory board and explore how these elements can benefit your business.

Clear Purpose and Goals

A successful advisory board must have a clear purpose and well-defined goals. Establishing the board’s objectives will help the members understand their roles and responsibilities, enabling them to provide valuable input and support.

Strategies for identifying and defining the purpose and goals

To define the purpose and goals of your advisory board, consider the following strategies:

  1. Identify the company’s strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Determine the areas in which your business could benefit from external guidance.
  3. Consult with stakeholders to gain insight into their expectations for the advisory board.
  4. Create a mission statement that outlines the board’s overarching objectives.
  5. Develop specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that align with the mission statement.

For example, a tech startup may establish an advisory board to provide guidance on product development, market positioning, and fundraising. The board’s mission statement could be to “provide strategic advice and industry expertise to accelerate the company’s growth.” The SMART goals might include increasing annual revenue by 25% or securing $2 million in funding within the next year.

Good Communication

Effective communication is critical for a successful advisory board. Open and transparent communication among members helps foster trust, facilitates collaboration, and ensures that everyone is working towards the same objectives.

Strategies for promoting effective communication

To promote effective communication among your advisory board members, consider these strategies:

  1. Establish clear expectations for communication, including frequency and preferred methods.
  2. Encourage active listening and provide opportunities for all members to share their perspectives.
  3. Use technology to facilitate communication, such as video conferencing or collaboration platforms.
  4. Schedule regular meetings and provide detailed agendas to keep members informed and engaged.
  5. Encourage open feedback and create a culture of continuous improvement.


For example, a biotech firm’s advisory board might use video conferencing to hold monthly meetings, discussing research developments and potential partnerships. Members might also utilize a collaboration platform to share documents, brainstorm ideas, and provide feedback in real time.

Diversity of Members

A diverse advisory board brings a wealth of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table. This diversity can help companies identify new opportunities, navigate complex challenges, and make more informed decisions.

Strategies for promoting diversity

To promote diversity on your advisory board, consider these strategies:

  1. Establish diversity as a core value in the board’s mission statement.
  2. Actively seek candidates from different backgrounds, industries, and areas of expertise.
  3. Consider gender, age, ethnicity, and other forms of diversity when recruiting members.
  4. Create an inclusive environment that encourages diverse perspectives and fosters a sense of belonging.


For instance, a clean energy company may recruit advisory board members from various backgrounds, including renewable energy experts, finance professionals, and environmental activists. This diverse range of perspectives can help the company develop innovative solutions, navigate regulatory challenges, and secure funding from various sources.

Strong Commitment

Commitment is a crucial aspect of a successful advisory board. Members dedicated to the company’s success will be more likely to invest their time, effort, and expertise to help the business achieve its goals.

Strategies for promoting strong commitment

To foster commitment among your advisory board members, consider the following strategies:

  1. Clearly articulate the board’s purpose and goals, ensuring members understand their roles and responsibilities.
  2. Offer appropriate incentives, such as equity, stipends, or other forms of compensation, to recognize their contributions.
  3. Provide members with opportunities for personal and professional growth, such as networking events or access to resources.
  4. Celebrate successes and acknowledge the contributions of individual members.
  5. Regularly evaluate the board’s performance and adjust to maintain engagement and commitment.


A fintech company, for example, might offer equity to its advisory board members in exchange for their expertise and guidance. The company could host quarterly networking events to help members build connections and learn about industry trends. These efforts can help ensure that the advisory board remains committed and engaged.

Effective Leadership

Strong leadership is essential for a successful advisory board. Effective leaders can drive the board’s agenda, facilitate communication, and create an environment where members can collaborate and contribute to the company’s success.

Strategies for promoting effective leadership

To promote effective leadership within your advisory board, consider these strategies:

  1. Appoint a chairperson or facilitator who has a proven track record of successful leadership.
  2. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the chairperson or facilitator, ensuring they align with the board’s purpose and goals.
  3. Provide training and resources to help the chairperson or facilitator develop their leadership skills.
  4. Encourage the leader to delegate tasks and involve other members in decision-making processes.
  5. Regularly evaluate the board’s leadership performance and make adjustments as needed.


A healthcare startup, for instance, might appoint a seasoned executive with experience in hospital administration as the chairperson of its advisory board. The chairperson could facilitate meetings, ensure that members are engaged, and oversee the implementation of the board’s recommendations.


In summary, the building blocks of a successful advisory board include:

  1. Clear purpose and goals
  2. Good communication
  3. Diversity of members
  4. Strong commitment
  5. Effective leadership


By incorporating these essential elements, your company can create an advisory board that is equipped to provide valuable guidance, expertise, and support. A well-structured and effective advisory board can be a significant asset for your business, helping you overcome challenges, seize opportunities, and ultimately achieve your goals.


  1. “The Power of Advisory Boards” by Mark Brown – $19.99 (2019)
    2. “The Advisory Board Handbook” by Cindy Burrell – $24.95 (2018)
    3. “The Ultimate Guide to Advisory Boards” by David G. Thomson – $29.99 (2017)
    4. “The Board Game: How Smart Women Become Corporate Directors” by Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire – $19.95 (2016)
    5. “The Advisory Board: A Guide to Building and Sustaining an Effective Board of Advisors” by Robert Sher – $29.95 (2015)