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17 October 2019

Advisory boards a small business secret weapon: Ombudsman

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell says advisory boards are increasingly playing a key role in Australia’s small business’ success stories.

Speaking at the Global Thought Leadership Summit in Melbourne today, Ms Carnell said 74% of businesses that use advisory boards want assistance with their growth strategy.

“Advisory boards are a secret weapon in the growing small business’ arsenal,” Ms Carnell said.

“While the small business owner is often flat-out with the day-to-day running of the business, advisory boards are able to realise the SME’s potential by working on the business, not in it.

“They help set a clear plan forward and help the small business owner focus on growth rather than getting distracted while putting out spot fires.

“Advisory boards have seen considerable growth in Australia in the past couple of years, but many SMEs continue to consider themselves too small or not successful enough to engage an advisory board.

“The benefits of advisory boards have been measured in other parts of the world.

“The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) surveyed over 4,000 businesses across the country and found sales grew by 66% on average in the first three years after setting up an advisory board.

“The BDC survey found annual sales for businesses with an advisory board were 24% higher than those without one.

“Advisory boards can also be particularly useful in succession planning, which we know is a significant issue for Australian family businesses.

“Importantly advisory boards don’t need to be a huge cost or time consuming for the small business owner. You can arrange to pay a meeting attendance fee and meet every two-to-three months.”

More information about advisory boards can be found here.