The Benefits of Having an Advisory Board

Advisory boards are a great way to have access to a select group of industry experts and thought leaders. These people are close at hand when needed, but do not have voting rights in your organization.

Publisher Environmental Leader introduced an advisory board last week consisting of end-users, vendors, consultants and academics. “I expect our brands will be able to develop better, more targeted content for readers,” President and Publisher Paul Nastu stated on the company website.

Advisory boards also can be used to help companies expand their knowledge and footprint in specific markets. For example, consulting firm Strategic Decisions Group launched a China Advisory Board this month to help its staff do a better job of serving clients with operations in that region.

Unlike board-of-director members, advisory board members are not compensated financially for their time. They accept the position based on the prestige they receive and the value they can bring to the table. Being an advisory board member may give them access to the other members as well, which is another perk. Some businesses have both an advisory board and a board of directors.

Jesse Torres, a financial services consultant, published a helpful article on in which he lists “8 steps to creating an effective advisory board,” including recruiting doubters: i.e., people who disagree with you—you don’t want a bunch of “yes men” on your advisory board—and being mindful of people’s time.

Technology and governance expert Barry J. Reiter (of Bennett Jones) reminds us that, while advisory boards are really helpful for startups, even established industry leaders can benefit from having access to targeted, high-quality advice.


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