Succession and Business Exit

Advisory Board Use Cases

Published 02 April 2024


The inherent flexibility of advisory boards means the structure can be adapted to support a variety of business priorities.  The most effective advisory boards are built upon a robust and well considered best practice foundation, then tailored to fit the particular needs or use case of the organisation.  In this series, we explore the various use cases of advisory boards and key considerations for implementation and facilitation.

Each situation is unique and the information provided is general in nature.  If you are looking to implement an advisory board for the first time, or are searching for support to enhance the effectiveness of your existing advisory structure or governance system, we strongly recommend engaging the support of a Certified Chair™️ .  Our tailored Advisory+ service can help connect you with the right advice for your organisation.


Advisory boards are a structured collaborative method for organisations to engage external advisors. The structure, role and operation of an advisory board is influenced by the organisation’s:

  • Operating environment
  • Legal requirements
  • Strategic direction
  • Leadership system
  • Available resources
  • Capacity and capability
  • Regulatory environment

How can advisory boards support a business to PREPARE FOR SUCCESSION OR EXIT?

Every business has a natural lifecycle from start-up, to scale-up, growth and exit. Business owners may seek to engaged various forms of support during these cycles.

When it comes to exit, many carefully navigate both business and personal needs. Maintaining an objective view is often supported by the use of advisory boards.

According to the OECD in July 2023, there has been a sharp rise in business exits. Key sectors including manufacturing, professional services and construction have among the highest entry to exist negative shift globally1. This could be due to many factors including pull and push factors.

The Advisory Board Centre presented key factors impacting the SME sector to Investment NSW.

  • Pull: Entrepreneurship; scale, business growth, maximise an opportunity, minimise risk and return on investment
  • Push: Ageing population, succession planning, fatigue, health and conflict, business competition and sunset industries.

In 2024, according to the Global Research Council, an increase in the establishment of advisory boards occurred due to exit preparation for SMEs – where an exit could take place in many ways.

Tailoring the focus of an advisory board specifically to support exit preparation can build recognised value in the business and sustainability of business owners post transition.  Business owners can explore various options where an advisory board structure could be structured pre and post transaction.


When considering an exit, business owners can look to their advisory structure to support the preparation process including (but not limited to) the development of strategies for:

  • Current operational effectiveness
  • Governance and systems alignment
  • Capability and capacity internally beyond the Owner
  • Navigating exit options
  • Investor readiness
  • Development of governance and risk management frameworks
  • Managing and gaining clarity of expectations
  • Owner and investor return


The ABF101 Advisory Board Best Practice Framework highlights key organisational considerations aligned to the best practice principles.  While all options need to be carefully considered for a particular use case and operating environment, the following list provides a starting point for your discussions:

  1. Advisory board structure options
  2. Purpose and intended impact
  3. Investment and return
  4. Roles and selection
  5. Impact measurement



1 OECD Statistics, June 28, 2023, Turbulent Times for SMEs. Annabelle Mouroungaine and Gueram Sargsyan.

Case Story

A logistics firm with key government and infrastructure projects had multiple partners. With $20m in revenue and long term contracts in place, the partners decided it was time to sell.

With a 18 month plan, the partners shifted their roles onto an advisory board with an independent chair. This enabled the executive team to step up in their roles and separated the partners from day to day operations.

With the creation of a data room and 18 months to maximise the business operations, the partners increased the value of their business by:

  • Being proactive in the business preparation for sale
  • Building the capacity and reliability of business systems and teams
  • Management of the business beyond the owners



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