If you get lost, and invariably we all do from time to time, you have to have a way to signal for help.
Depending on your circumstance that might be writing your plea in the sand, or lighting a flare or it might be a flag or a loud horn. In a less dire setting it might just mean having an extra battery or a network booster so you can use your smart phone to signal for help.
As an entrepreneur, unlike the survivalist who doesn’t know who will be the rescuer, you need to pre-identify those who can help when times get tough and when you are lost and don’t know what to do.
Quite often, entrepreneurs are afraid to establish a board. Perhaps it is because they don’t want anyone telling them what to do. Or perhaps they think that they have to have money to pay board members.
Seal entrepreneurs know the answer to this one.
A board is your lifeline and you must surround yourself with people who are smarter than you for the very reason that you can’t know everything and everyone that you need to succeed. And until you can afford to hire people to manage each business discipline, you need to have someone you can ask for help when you get lost.
And yes, eventually you need to be able to compensate your board, but you may find that they are willing to be a part of a profit sharing program or to get warrants for stock during your growth phase. And once you have achieved key milestones you will want to bring the board in for a formal meeting, for which you will reimburse expenses and give them a small stipend.
Don’t fall into the trap of only having your executive team or co-founder on the board, or just your investors. A strong outside non-executive board is a very important part of a major company’s board construction, so why not model yourself after the biggest and the brightest?
Seal entrepreneurs not only know when to signal, but they have the signal in their pocket, knowing who to signal for what.