The Importance of Board Training for Entrepreneurs
When they are first starting on the journey of entrepreneurship, new businesspeople spend a lot of time thinking about product ideas, market analyses, pricing, branding, and advertising—but the one thing that they often forget to consider is the time they will be spending interacting with boards of directors. The same holds for those who will interact with non-profits in their scope of work. Regardless of the type of organization you are running, you will likely be spending a lot more time with your board (and the boards of other organizations) than you may have thought.
As president, CEO, owner, etc., you will be relying on your board members for their insights and input. At the same time, you will likely be managing them in some capacity while at the same time answering to them. Because a strong board is so vital to the success of an organization, it is important to be prepared for this aspect of your work—whether it’s selecting the best board members who fit well with your corporate ethos, effectively interacting with them, or simply building trusting, interdependent relationships with them.
Unfortunately, board management skills aren’t something that many of us have naturally. Instead, they take time and experience to develop. Of course, as busy entrepreneurs struggling to make our new startups work, we don’t exactly have the time to learn these skills on a trial-and-error basis or even the luxury of making mistakes and learning from them. The first few years of a startup are critical to its success, so this isn’t really the best time to be developing skills that we already need to lead our companies.
This is where board training comes in. Before we ever launch our companies, we can develop the skills we will eventually need by learning from experts who have decades of experience dealing with boards. We can learn what skills we need and then practice them in a safe and controlled setting, preparing ourselves ahead of time for the various challenges we will face as entrepreneurs.
As students in primary school, college, and university, we learn hundreds of skills—some that we will end up needing in life and many that we won’t. But sadly, the school doesn’t really prepare us to own businesses (short of business-specific degrees such as an MBA). This is why it is important to supplement our formal education with targeted training that will directly impact our ability to lead our companies successfully. Board management is one of the most important skills a young entrepreneur can have, so it makes sense to invest in our future companies’ futures through effective board training.