Businesses in the North East are to be offered free access to professional advisory boards.
Not-for-profit business support organisation Be the Business will offer personalised and direct support from a handpicked advisory board of experienced industry experts to local family businesses.
The scheme, which has been designed for family run firms is run in partnership with the Family Business Network. It will launch in the region this month and interested parties are encouraged to apply early to avoid disappointment.
Advisory boards perform a similar role that non-executive directors play in large businesses, providing support and challenge to the executive team. This helps them be more efficient, productive and competitive.
Now the principle is being tested on a pro-bono basis in an attempt to help small and medium businesses find greater success and stability in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The offer will see businesses assigned a board for a 12-month period, with quarterly ‘board meetings’ and ongoing advice aimed to take businesses into another gear of competitiveness. Boards will be aiming to inject their paired businesses with new ideas, act as a sounding board on business strategy and to stress-test critical decisions.
The programme is aimed at being a collaborative partnership, delivered with the understanding that business leaders know their own companies best, but a fresh perspective can be invaluable.
Anthony Impey, CEO at Be the Business, said:
“As an entrepreneur myself, I know the huge value external advice can offer. Through an advisory board, you’ll be able to access experienced and understanding business know-how free of charge. Places are limited, so if you think it would benefit your business be sure to sign up quickly.”
Co-Director of The Family Business Network, Sue Howorth said:
“We’re delighted to be able to offer family businesses across the North East the opportunity to join our Advisory Board Programme, starting in January. The programme has already been successfully run within the North West, generating an overwhelmingly positive response from participating businesses.”
Simon Stirling runs Direct2Florist which enables shoppers to send flowers anywhere in the UK using local florists. He participated in the earlier pilot.
“Before the programme started, I didn’t know what to expect. We are a small family business and we know it inside out, so it was strange to talk about our plans and ambitions with anyone outside the company. But having the support of a board has been transformational. They really helped us move things up a level.
“They were able to look at the business with a completely independent and impartial view. It made me reassess things I thought we didn’t need to change and really helped to focus our efforts on where we wanted to improve as a business and create a roadmap of how we get there.
“This meant that when Covid hit, we knew our business was in the right place to help local florists get through a really tough time.
Business leaders who wish to take advantage should visit the Be the Business website for more information
What happens if you’re selected?
If you are offered a place on the programme, the co-ordinators will talk through the board papers and offer any help you need to prepare for your first meeting
Dates for all four quarterly meetings will be arranged up front at a time that suits you, and they’ll be held online
Before each meeting, you will be asked to produce a summary board report that gives the board members the information they need about your business’s performance
At the meeting, you’ll talk the board through your issues, and they’ll give input and ask questions to help clarify your options
You can then identify actions that you want to take in order to move your business forward
To apply for the opportunity, you must
- Be a family run business
- Have a least five employees
- Have a turnover of 500k+