Where can I go searching for a volunteer non-executive board member?
January 9, 2014 10:12 AM Subscribe
My small business needs an independent 3rd party to keep a weather eye on us and ensure we stop slacking. Where should I go looking to find someone experienced who could give us 2 hours of their time every month for next-to-do nothing?
posted by ajp to Work & Money (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My three business partners and I run a very small health-care clinic in London, UK. Among other issues, we've realised that we are bad at completing our to-do list, since we're all friends and not great at holding each other to account. A business advisor recently suggested we need an independent 3rd party who attends our monthly meetings and asks the awkward questions like "why didn't you get all your actions done?" and "pretend I have no idea what you're talking about, persuade me why this is a good strategy" etc etc.
We also need someone who can guide us through a brief business planning phase, wherein we discuss our long-term goals for the business and our commitment to achieving them. Their role here would be as Devil's advocate and sounding-board rather than outright business advisor.
In a larger business, this is among the roles of the non-executive directors.
Our problem: cash. We can barely afford to pay ourselves at the moment. Ideally we'd be looking for someone who can donate 2 hours of their time once a month. A token fee (crate of wine at the end of the year?) is the most we could offer.
Our ideal candidate will be experienced (rather than e.g. a business school student); unknown to all of us (to avoid bias or accusations thereof); affable; and confident enough to command respect and question us. Ideally they'd be able to meet physically London one evening per month, although Skype is also an option. A year would be an ideal period, although 3 or 4 months would be fine.
I appreciate that the obvious solution is that we forget this and simply pull our collectives fingers out and kick ourselves into shape, but if that was going to happen it would have done by now.
An obvious place to start looking is our social and business networks, but again that may lead to a biased relationship. We'll pursue that route, but if anyone has any other suggestions they'd be gratefully received. Should I hunt around business schools to see any faculty have spare time? Where do semi-retired business folks hang out?