When does a business need an advisory board?


Published 01 March 2023

Today’s businesses operate in a complex and dynamic global environment where staying at the forefront of technological and cultural change is harder than ever before. Without access to the right knowledge and advice, even the most successful business has the potential to lose its footing and jeopardise its competitive advantage.

When a business is faced with a significant challenge or is venturing into uncharted territory, the support of an advisory board can be an invaluable asset.

Let’s explore what an advisory board does and when an advisory board can be most beneficial for your business.

What does an advisory board do?

An advisory board is a structured collaborative method for organisations to engage external advisors. Collectively, an advisory board provides specialist or strategic advice to support organisations to solve a range of difficult or complex business problems.

Typically comprising a range of professionals with specialist knowledge or technical expertise which is not currently available internally within the business, an advisory board provides a platform for business owners, executives or directors to easily access valuable advice which can be used to inform important business decisions.

Generally meeting on a semi-regular basis several times per year, advisory boards are designed to support or complement the businesses existing corporate structure.

When would a business use an advisory board?

Acting as a sounding board to workshop ideas with the wisdom, guidance and support of other more experienced professionals, an advisory board can be invaluable in helping a business navigate a range of situations that could present a major risk or opportunity for the business.

As a business evolves, the range of challenges it’s likely to face can expand exponentially. Managing a business can be highly complex…from legal and financial compliance to growth, supply and logistics, technology, marketing, and sustainability.

While most business owners are well equipped to handle the day-to-day requirements of their business, many simply lack the specialist skills and knowledge required to successfully manage the range of more complex or challenging scenarios they may face.

Beyond problem-solving alone, most businesses are also looking for ways to ensure their practices are up to scratch, challenge their way of thinking, and accelerate their strategy.

While an advisory board may not be suitable for every type of business, there are some common scenarios where an advisory board could be particularly valuable. These include:

  • Growth of the business.
  • Expansion into new markets.
  • Organisational change and transformation.
  • Handling a major crisis or critical incident.
  • Navigating a business sale, exit or acquisition.
  • Tackling a specific business problem.

The decisions made when facing any of these scenarios have the potential to determine the ultimate success or failure of a business—by appointing an advisory board, the business is ensuring decision-makers have access to sound advice and guidance to help them approach and navigate any challenges from a confident and informed position.

How can the Advisory Board Centre help?

The Advisory Board Centre is an independent professional body for the advisory sector. The Centre was founded to support and improve the effectiveness of the global advisory board sector, including the professionals who fulfil an Advisory function and organisations for whom they serve.

We provide education programs for organisations, certification for advisors and the complimentary Advisor Concierge service.

If you are exploring an advisory board for your organisation or considering joining an advisory board as a member, the ABF101 Advisory Board Best Practice Framework™ is a helpful resource.

Find out more about our Advisor Concierge service or contact us for more information.

Want to learn more?

Check out our e-learning programs which are fully facilitated and accessible anywhere, anytime. Understand Advisory Board Foundations or discover practical steps to a portfolio career with Executive Transitions. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, based in the East or the West – develop your board skills in your own time.

Wondering how to engage your stakeholders?

Connect with credentialed advisors

Advisor Concierge Service