Small Business Support Equals Survival

Support is critical for your small business survival. You may shy away from the thought of having an advisory board to guide you through your rough spots, but having a group of professionals who are willing to be your sounding board can mean the difference between success and failure.

Your board should be made up of seasoned professionals in non-competing businesses. You should:

- Select three to five members who can fill in the gaps. Include people unrelated to you who can take a broad view of your business and are willing to suggest changes. Zero in on people who have skills you lack. Find members who can be objective and frank with their advice.

- Set a date. Meet at least once a month to review your progress and obtain feedback. Be prepared with financial statements and actions completed since the last meeting. Be organized. Don't waste your board's time. Pack light on discussion topics so you can pursue issues deeply.

- Act on your board's advice. If you find yourself procrastinating about commitments you've made and actions you've agreed to take, dissolve your group. Members will quickly lose interest if they see no added value in the commitment they've made to help you and your business.

Denise O'Berry helps small business owners take action to grow their business. Find out more at

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