Attorney Douglas Brown at Post University and David Scarola, vice president of the Alternative Board, offer these insights for managing expectations and avoiding disappointments on an advisory board:
1. Write it down. A simple memo explaining the duties and responsibilities of the advisory board can protect you and your advisors. Make clear that all business decisions are yours, that you won’t hold members responsible for their advice. Nondisclosure agreements also are a good idea, so peers feel free sharing information.
2. Sign them up for a year. Renewal should be at your discretion, but stability is paramount. Try to keep your team together as long as possible.
3. Say thank-you. You don’t have to compensate your advisors, but you should. Stipends or small shares of equity are common. A product or service of your company, perhaps embossed with the logo and presented as a gift, is particularly thoughtful.
— Adapted from “How to get the most from your board,” Douglas Brown, Inc.