We spotted an interesting piece over on SME about ways in which appointing a non-executive director could potentially really help many small businesses.
Written by James Metzger, Managing Director of executive recruitment agency Metzger Search & Selection, the piece provides useful food for thought.
He’s clear that small businesses ‘can benefit greatly from having an injection of fresh expertise on board’, and his piece sets out ‘why’.
Having someone experienced on hand to help – either on a regular, scheduled basis, or when you need to call on them – can help with all the ‘myriad of strategic decisions’ small businesses and their founders inevitably face.
‘The burden of making key decisions to enable your company’s growth and prosperity, and not just its present survival, can be shared with a key, experienced advisor in the form of a non-executive director’, says the piece.
They bring two key advantages:
• Experience you and your team may not have yet lived through
• And a little detachment – being ‘just removed enough to see the wood for the trees’
And of course relevant, firsthand experience is worth its weight in saving you time and headaches. They can help with problems, but they can also see opportunities – including potential strengths you yourselves may be too close to notice.
And they can help when the going gets gruelling and painful decisions need taking.
Of course, it will be an investment. But the SME piece argues, it may not be beyond your means, and through this you can access ‘seasoned CEO level advice, but not at CEO salaries’. You may, for instance, pay for their attention ‘a few days a month’ – and this may well be an attractive prospect for them too.
‘For some directors’, writes James Metzger, ‘being a senior advisor to another company is an appealing and refreshing prospect; they can share their experience without the commitment of being a staff member and are removed from the internal company politics. They might be attracted by being an ‘external’ coach or mentor for younger staff members, which is a bonus, especially for unseasoned, smaller companies who would benefit most from this contribution. It is also an opportunity for an experienced director to give something back to industry and promising fledgling companies.’
But of course all of this depends, at least to an extent, on finding a good match. There needs to be ‘good chemistry’ between the non-exec and your team.
‘Picking someone that fits with the company culture and people, or is open enough to understand and embrace them, makes a significant difference in the success rate of the partnership.’
Stands to reason.
One further potential benefit, highlighted by the SME piece, is that your non-exec will arrive his or her own network of contacts. Of course. ‘While helping your company, they may tap into their own resources; other leaders in the industry, potential new business partners, investors, and maybe even new team members’.
The piece is compelling, and its author convincing. He especially prescribes this course to small businesses at times of rapid growth or development.
‘Someone else who had been through it before’, it says, ‘would know how to maximise the positives on the road ahead and be resilient through the negatives’.
They can help with ‘clear, strategic thinking’ every step of that road.
There’s more. Read the piece in full over on SME.