The Power of an Informal Board of Advisors                           by                       Kirk Coburn         Co-found...
About Kirk Coburn                            ★ Co-founder    & Managing Director, SURGE Accelerator                       ...
Agenda*   The Business Case for a Board of Advisors*   Case Study: HappyLawn of America*   What Kind of Board Is For You* ...
DO YOU NEED A BOARD OF ADVISORS?Four Questions:* What are the three or four biggest challenges in yourbusiness right now? ...
WHY YOU NEED A BOARD OF ADVISORS?Comments from fellow Entrepreneurs & CEO’s:“I felt I had reached my current natural limit...
WHY YOU NEED A BOARD OF ADVISORS?YOU are in good hands…others that have proventhe model
Case Study: Happy Lawn of AmericaSituation: Barrett Ersek had a US$2.2million dollar lawn care company thatseemed to be st...
FORMAL OR INFORMAL?The recent Sarbanes-Oxley Act imposed on publiccompanies has soured private firms onhaving a formal Boa...
2 TYPES OF INFORMAL BOARDS                       Strategic Boards                              Peer Based Boards          ...
COMPENSATIONSTRATEGIC BOARD:* 0.25% to 1% of your equity per person* Pay a Daily Fee plus Expenses* In some cases, pay an ...
STRATEGIC BOARD: HOW DO I CREATE ONEHow do you attract an Advisor?* JUST ASK and KEEP ASKING* Make sure you test drive the...
STRATEGIC BOARD: WHO SHOULD I ASK?WHERE ARE YOU WEAK?* Energy and Utility Deep Domain Expertise* Finance* Strategy* Leader...
STRATEGIC BOARD: ONE FAVOR AT A TIMEMaximize everyone’s time, pick one specific actionitem for each board member to pursue...
PEER BOARD: HOW DO I CREATE ONEHow do you attract a PEER Advisor?* Join SURGE* Find the best organization that fits your p...
PEER BOARD: SIZE CONSIDERATIONS Advisory Size                     Pros                               Cons                 ...
PEER BOARD: KEY TENANTSBest Practices from over 7,000+ entrepreneursgenerating over $101 billion in revenue, employingover...
PEER BOARD: THE LIFE CYCLE                                                                           Level:           C...
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The Power of an Informal Board of Directors

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Do you have a board of advisors that can help you build your business? The power of a board can CHANGE your business forever

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  • Assure group that this will be quick, will hear from various members\n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
  • \n
  • Good opportunity to compare EO to competitor organizations.\n
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  • The Power of an Informal Board of Directors

    1. 1. The Power of an Informal Board of Advisors by Kirk Coburn Co-founder & Managing Director, SURGE (For Copy with Audio, Please Email Me)
    2. 2. About Kirk Coburn ★ Co-founder & Managing Director, SURGE Accelerator ★ Created the PGA TOUR Network on Sirius XM ★ Founded Sports and Event marketing agency that works with leading brands including the PGA TOUR, the NFL, Nascar, American Express, Sirius XM, Major League Baseball and the NHL ★ StartedBrandBark marketing and management consulting to help start-ups and companies accelerate growthkirk@surgeaccelerator.com ★ Served on the Board of EO ★ Continues to hold onto a 2 Handicap ★ Loves endurance running and open-water swimming ★ Bornin the wild and raised by a pack of coyotes under the name Kuykendall (Kirk) Brand Coburn Read my BLOG @ surgeaccelerator.com/blog
    3. 3. Agenda* The Business Case for a Board of Advisors* Case Study: HappyLawn of America* What Kind of Board Is For You* Strategic Board Best Practices* Peer Board Best Practices
    4. 4. DO YOU NEED A BOARD OF ADVISORS?Four Questions:* What are the three or four biggest challenges in yourbusiness right now? (What keeps you up at night?)* How do you handle stress? * How has your business changed over the last three tofive years? * Where do you get your best counsel and advice, interms of driving your business forward?
    5. 5. WHY YOU NEED A BOARD OF ADVISORS?Comments from fellow Entrepreneurs & CEO’s:“I felt I had reached my current natural limits on learning how to be aCEO, was not getting enough”“My advisory board is responsible for driving 85% growth in revenuethe first year and 35% the year following.”“Running a business is simply easier if you have some help andadvice from a group of trusted individuals dedicated to seeing yousucceed.”“I determined that I wouldn’t have made my 3 biggest mistakes inmy company if I had myself accountable to a group of experiencedbusinessmen who I respected.”
    6. 6. WHY YOU NEED A BOARD OF ADVISORS?YOU are in good hands…others that have proventhe model
    7. 7. Case Study: Happy Lawn of AmericaSituation: Barrett Ersek had a US$2.2million dollar lawn care company thatseemed to be stuck – he could not grow his company at a rate more than5-10% per year.Problem: Barrett could not see past the industry’s key bottleneck, the cost ofthe long & complicated sales processSolution: Barrett created an informal board of advisors. Out this came anassignment, “Think about your biggest bottleneck, solve it, and if possiblethink of a way to improve the process or product in a way that would give us10 times the advantage over our competitors. Solve that and you will win inyour business.” His advisors helped him find an “X” factor.Result: Barrett had developed a proprietary patented selling process thatallowed the company to grow rapidly from no sales in 2004 to US$10millionby year-end 2007. Today, operations cover Northern Virginia all the way upto Northern New Jersey, USA.
    8. 8. FORMAL OR INFORMAL?The recent Sarbanes-Oxley Act imposed on publiccompanies has soured private firms onhaving a formal Board of Directors.“ The biggest loser in Sox: the small and mediumbusinesses that create over 90% of jobs in the U.S.” –Tom Meredith, key Dell Architect, former Motorola CFODon’t give your advisors the fiduciary responsibility of aformal board. It does not align with your mainobjective: helping you grow!
    9. 9. 2 TYPES OF INFORMAL BOARDS Strategic Boards Peer Based Boards Strategic Boards are what most would This is a board made up of peers. At consider to be a “Board of Advisors”. This SURGE, this consists of fellow founders of Definition board should consist of strategic influencers other Energy IT companies that meet that can individually help your business together to resolve and learn from one succeed where you are weak. another. This Board exists to advise your company on Peer Boards are put together to help the strategic matters similar to a President’s entrepreneur succeed and grow Cabinet. This board should be made up of professionally and personally. This is the Purpose key business leaders that can serve as a place that an entrepreneur can go to source of credibility and value to help the discuss the deepest issues that company grow and navigate business employees, strategic boards, investors and issues. stakeholders cannot. PROS CONS PROS CONS Helps companies get Not a great place for Helps entrepreneur The entrepreneur is new customers, an entrepreneur to manage the “X” not truly Pros and serve as credibility, let his or her guard factor: finding accountable to the Cons raise capital, consult down on personal ground breaking peer based board on operations and failures/concerns. strategies. Place of and cannot rely on finance, form better Must be on “A” game safety for board to help partnerships with when managing entrepreneur to execute stakeholders learn without fear
    10. 10. COMPENSATIONSTRATEGIC BOARD:* 0.25% to 1% of your equity per person* Pay a Daily Fee plus Expenses* In some cases, pay an extra Retainer for extra work added during board meetings* As your business becomes more successful, time to renegotiate compensation with each advisor independentlyPEER BOARD: Join SURGE and gain access to manyother founders as part of the SURGE alumni network.
    11. 11. STRATEGIC BOARD: HOW DO I CREATE ONEHow do you attract an Advisor?* JUST ASK and KEEP ASKING* Make sure you test drive them for 90 days and ensure alignment in strategy, style, and most importantly, core values.How many should be on the Strategic Board?* Find where you are weak, and get someone to be on the board than can offer strength* The actual size is important. Read Venture Hacks articleentitled “Create a board that reflects the ownership of thecompany”
    12. 12. STRATEGIC BOARD: WHO SHOULD I ASK?WHERE ARE YOU WEAK?* Energy and Utility Deep Domain Expertise* Finance* Strategy* Leadership* Marketing* Client Services & Business Development“I felt I had reached my current natural limits on learning how to be a CEO,was not getting enough consistent and targeted professional developmentfrom groups like my CEO roundtables, and felt I didn’t have time for full-timeschool. How can I keep on learning in real time on real issues that I’mfacing? She went for two members first one to bolster her skills in finance,strategic relationships and senior teams and one to support her continuingefforts in service quality. Besides crediting them with her growth in revenues,they’ve helped her transition the entire leadership team into new roles,managed a major trade market infringement scenario, and helped her workout their business plan for the next 4 years.”
    13. 13. STRATEGIC BOARD: ONE FAVOR AT A TIMEMaximize everyone’s time, pick one specific actionitem for each board member to pursue on their own(Examples from Verne Harnish, the Growth Guy)* John Cone helped Verne nail down the GE, Dell, and Southwest Airlines benchmarking events.* Boyd Clarke, CEO of the Tom Peters Mgt Consulting Co, advises him on marketing.* Bill Gladstone, one of the top author agents in the country, is working with Verne on a potential second book deal* Ted Leonsis, Vice Chairman of AOL and investor in Gazelles, was key to securing a relationship with Fortune Small Business magazine* Arthur Lipper, former owner of Venture Magazine, is helping Verne get some business in Singapore
    14. 14. PEER BOARD: HOW DO I CREATE ONEHow do you attract a PEER Advisor?* Join SURGE* Find the best organization that fits your personality andbusiness need and JOIN. Leading Peer Based Boardorganizations include: - EO: Entrepreneur Organization (www.eonetwork.org) - YPO: Young President’s Organization - Vistage - CEO RoundtableHow many should be on the Peer Board?* Between 6 & 10* Less than 6 members there isn’t sufficient experience in the room to ensure each member benefits from the Forum. Over 10 becomes too crowded
    15. 15. PEER BOARD: SIZE CONSIDERATIONS Advisory Size Pros Cons · The intimacy level can grow · When one person is absent, stronger more quickly because the value of the Forum there are less personalities meeting is more significantly When there is a involved. impaired. small number of members · It takes less time to go around · There are less experiences the table during exercises. and knowledge to be shared · It can be easier to achieve around the table. consensus with a smaller group. · When one person is absent, the · It takes more time to goWhen there is a large value of the Forum meeting is around the table duringnumber of members not significantly impaired. exercises. · There are more experiences · It can be more difficult to and knowledge to be shared achieve consensus with a around the table. larger group.
    16. 16. PEER BOARD: KEY TENANTSBest Practices from over 7,000+ entrepreneursgenerating over $101 billion in revenue, employingover 924,000 people* Safe Environment of Confidentiality* Non-Solicitation* Protocol of Gestalt, Experience Sharing
    17. 17. PEER BOARD: THE LIFE CYCLE    Level: Casual Connection Commitment “The 5%” Safe subjects they Real life dilemmas they Things they may not would discuss with would only discuss with have ever discussed orContent casual acquaintances a few trusted confidants thought about Low trust; few risks, Acceptance, openness, Members share their low commitment, no trust and respect vulnerabilities openlyEnvironment emotional investment Mild anxiety, Caring, comfort, Highly emotional, optimism, excitement, confidence with group strong acceptance &Feelings and potential distrust commitment New product line, Partner problems, Overwhelming office relocation, H/R strategic planning, business loss orSample benefits, new workout family issues, health challenge, fear ofPresentation regimen, hiring new problems, life balance failure, impendingTopics sales people divorce, depression, etc.

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