Board of Directors or a Mastermind: which do you need?

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How do you know when it’s time to get advisors for your company? Do you need to hire, or would a free option be better? Here we’ll dive into the two main types of company advisors and talk a little bit about when to form them, how to find them, and which one would be the best fit. Read on for my thoughts on a board of directors or a mastermind and which one you need.

  • 00:00 The Big Question
  • 00:24 Having a board of directors for your company will depend on…
  • 00:56 First thing to do
  • 01:15 Why you would want a board
  • 01:54 For the freelancers, solopreneurs, and smaller business owners
  • 02:40 Types of masterminds
  • 03:00 Mastermind for free!
  • 04:35 When hiring advisors makes sense
  • 05:15 Finding the right pre-existing Mastermind group
  • 06:19 Getting the right mix of people in your Mastermind
  • 07:49 Bottom line on hiring for it


The transcript is below if you would prefer to read this yourself instead of watching the video!

Hey, welcome or welcome back. I’m Sandra B your Sidekick COO and today we are going to be answering the rather interesting question that I received, which was, what are the steps leading to having advisors that help make decisions for your company? Do you hire for this and if so, who are they? It sounds like you’re talking a little bit about a board of directors

Board of Directors or a Mastermind: which do you need?

Having a board of directors for your company is really gonna depend on a couple of things. One, is it legislated that you have to have a board of directors and if so, how large does that board have to be? If, and this typically only applies to incorporated companies and often when it is legislated, it really just says that you know, as an incorporation, you have to have one person on your board. 

Depending on where you live, the regulations may stipulate that you actually have to have three people, or you might have to have more or less. The first thing to do is to know what the regulation is where you live, and then go from there. Now if where you live says that you just need to have one person on your board of directors, that’s going to be you. You don’t have to actually build a team of advisors to make decisions for your company. But, depending on what your business is, you may want to actually have that. So especially if you are actually going out and raising capital if you’re looking for investors, then having a board of directors on your team is usually really beneficial. You may actually have people, like if somebody doesn’t invest, they may actually end up being on your board.

So, depending on what your company does, how big you expect it to go, like what your evaluation is gonna be, all of that stuff. You may decide to have a larger board of directors than necessary earlier on, like before your startup phase is even done. I’m gonna say that more likely than not if you’re watching this video that is not you, you are probably, you know, a freelancer looking to build your business. Or, you are a small business owner that is currently, you know, a solopreneur or somebody working on their own or with a very small, maybe one or two people on your team.

Typically subcontractors, or maybe an employee, and if that is the case, it is unlikely that you’re going to hire anybody to be on a board of directors. But what you might wanna do is you might wanna curate a group of people that you can actually meet with on a regular basis to at least talk about things that are happening in your business, in your industry. Get their feedback, get their insight. And typically most people are gonna call this a mastermind. 

There are tons of masterminds out there, there are group programs that call themselves masterminds. Any number of places that you can go to kind of find this. So it’s definitely something that you can pay for. There are different groups that are, that talk about scaling that will have some type of mastermind program attached to it but it is not something you necessarily have to pay for. If you can find people who are willing to be in a mastermind with you, then you can actually just put that together yourself and not pay for it. 

Typically, the benefit of paying for one is that you end up with access to people who are further along the growth path than you are so people who have already been where you are and can give you insight as to how to move forward and get to where they are. That’s typically easier to get when you pay for the mastermind because those tend to be curated groups. But you know, if you know a lot of business owners, as long as somebody is just a little further down the path in a specific area than you, you can actually find a lot of insight in free groups, creating your own little free group.

Think about the people that you know or start getting to know more people and build those relationships. Think about who has knowledge in an area that would be good for you to be able to tap into and who could also use the knowledge that you have. So it really should be a two-way street as much as possible, especially in these free groups that you’re creating yourself. Who has the knowledge that it would be great for you to have access to?

It can be people in your industry, it could be people in other industries and preferably who is, you know, one or two steps ahead of you in an area that really matters to you. And then see if you can kind of create a group of people, 2, 3, 4 other people that you can meet with regularly that each of you gets to go around and talk about your own business and get insight from the group as a whole. 

It doesn’t have to be something that you hire for, but if you are in that position, which is very unlikely if you are in that position where you need to create a board of directors because you’re going big right away, then yeah, you’re probably gonna hire, or it’s going to be those, the board members might come from people who are investing in the company. And there are all sorts of regulations around like actually creating legal boards of directors for your incorporated companies so that is something you’re going to wanna get your lawyer involved in to make sure that you’re doing everything properly and all of that. So that is not really what this is about. 

If you really don’t have the network that you can find people that might be good to kind of curate your own little free group with, then start looking for companies that talk about scaling, that talk about building your business and that kind of curate those peer groups for you. You can find other masterminds and just make sure that before you join that you vet the group a little bit.

You want to make sure that these are people who: One, are a little further down, not everybody, not everybody has to be ahead of you, but you wanna make sure that you’re in a group where a couple of people at least are ahead of you so that you can get insight. And then two, that’s gonna be relevant. Like if you have a fairly large group, you know, three or four people, that’s not really fairly large, but if you have at least three or four people in your group, if you have one person who is like in a completely different industry, a completely different type of business where it doesn’t, it’s not really good, a lot of the lessons aren’t going to match, there will still be some things like learning outside of your industry is very, very valuable. 

Sometimes you’ll see something that someone is doing outside of your industry and you’re like, “How the heck can I do that”? How you might have an idea of how you might take that and how it might work for you inside your industry.

So, learning from people outside your industry is fine, but you wouldn’t wanna necessarily have a mastermind full of people who are outside of your industry because then the information and insight you’re gonna get is gonna be less likely to be useful to you specifically. You kind of want to have a mix of people, most probably from your industry, your type of business, and then maybe one or two from outside of your industry. It doesn’t even have to be necessarily the same exact job that people are doing.

In fact, you probably don’t want that, but like it can be a loose term of industry. So you could be just looking at, you want a group of other online service providers. If you’re an online service provider, you want a group of other online service providers and maybe one or two people who are running courses or memberships or doing some other interesting way of having a revenue stream other than what you’re doing. That way, if you have ‘online service provider’ as your kind of general guiding principle, then you might have you know:

  • a coach
  • a copywriter 
  • VA or an OBM
  • web designer or a graphic designer
  • social media expert
  • any other type of person who deals specifically by providing a service online. 

In regards to whether you have to hire for it or not, typically, not if you are the type of person watching this video, but yes, it would often be if you were putting together an actual board of directors for your business.  

If you have a question about this or any of my episodes or if there’s a topic or a question you’d love to hear me tackle, don’t be afraid to reach out. I would love to hear about it. In the meantime, don’t forget to like and subscribe and remember together we thrive.

Take care.

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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