August 9, 2016

Why You Should Have a Board of Directors for Your Company

By Paul Bieber

Me? I’m a small company with five employees. No way.
Me? I am a member of a peer group that meets twice monthly and they help me solve problems.
Me?  I’m too busy to spend my time with a bunch of egg heads who will tell me the scientific way to run my company.

You are missing the point.  A board of directors is not meant for you to have problem solvers available to you although many board members will help you solve problems.  The point is with a good board, they will study your business and help you PREVENT the problems.  You are asking people to be on your board who have experiences in your size of business and knowledge of our glass industry along with business acumen.

How big should the board be?  This is not a ratio to your size, it is based on where you need the help.  You will be on the board, along with someone who knows finance and insurances, and people who know your industry.  Start out with three members to see if this will work for you.  Give it a year to make that decision.

Whether your fabricate or install, meet people at local trade shows, ask your vendors who is really sharp, or look in the glass magazines for information on interesting people.  Plan on a month or two to put your board together.  Ask prospective board members to send a history of their career in the glass industry.  This should be in a casual letter—don’t ask for a resume.  Meet with prospective board members at your office and then have a meal with them.  See if you click together.  If you unsure, this person would be not for you. Check with your local colleges’ business department if they are currently working with any business people who have time to serve on a board.

Some boards in our industry also have a customer or a vendor to give the board a stronger balance.

You are convinced.  Have a board meeting once a quarter, starting at 3 p.m. at your office discussing current operations and yes, problems.  Go to dinner and discuss the future, where you are going and how to get there.  Be prepared for this meeting.  Send out an agenda a week in advance along with  quarterly management reports, top and bottom line results and your one-page write-up on the business.  A separate page will include your goals for the next quarter and how you plan to achieve them.  Another page will be on your competitors and how they are affecting your business.  You may want in include one last page covering misc. questions and problems to be discussed.  Don’t sugar coat anything here.  The board is on your team and needs the truth on everything.

A board does not come free.  You will probably pay between $500 and $1,000 each, for the quarterly meeting.  Some companies have their board members visit the operation one or two days per year just to look around, look under rocks and make suggestions.  Expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500 per day for this.  Everything here is plus expenses.

Your board will not have the power to enforce their ideas, or to make any personnel moves.  They will act as teachers and problem solvers where necessary. 

Check with your attorney before creating this board.  There may be different laws in each state regulating boards.  If you are still uncomfortable, call it a board of advisors with no statutory authority.

So this is a rough outline.  Questions?  Drop me a note at