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  • Writer's pictureMeyrick Consulting

Building Your Advisory Board in the Food & Ingredients Industry

Today's food and ingredients companies are facing unprecedented challenges. From digital transformation to changing consumer tastes, new competitors, and supply chain pressures, demand for faster innovation, transparency, and risk mitigation is greater than ever. Advisory boards can help your company face these challenges head-on by providing a forum for members of your team to share ideas, get feedback from experts in various fields, and tackle projects that might not be a fit for day-to-day operations. An advisory board not only gives you access to new ideas and connections; it also helps you create opportunities before they happen so you can stay ahead of the curve. This week we're talking about the value of advisory boards for food & ingredients companies and why they matter so much right now.

The Purpose...

An advisory board is a group of experts who meet regularly to provide direction and advice to a company. Advisory boards are commonly found in the financial sector, where they can assist in large-scale decision-making, regulatory compliance, and risk management but have also found their use in many other industries. Food & ingredients companies can also benefit from the expertise of an advisory board. Advisory boards can be used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Onboarding new members: An advisory board can be a great way to onboard new members and get them engaged with your organization. In addition to providing expertise, members can also serve as brand ambassadors and help build your organization's credibility.

  • Identifying emerging trends: With experience spanning different industries, members of an advisory board can help your company identify emerging trends and challenges.

  • Developing new products and services: Advisory boards can be a great way to get feedback on new products and services, especially as they relate to trends.

  • Solving complex problems: Advisory boards can be used to tackle complex problems that might otherwise require a lot of resources to solve.

  • Developing new partnerships: Advisory boards can provide insight into which other companies may want to partner with you and why.

  • Fundraising: As we know, VC and PE firms aren't just interested in your products or your growth potential but place a lot of emphasis on the people and expertise you have leading and backing your company

The Necessity...

There are a few steps you can take to build an effective advisory board. Your first step should be to create a plan with a defined purpose and desired outcomes. What are you hoping to accomplish with the advisory board? What do you hope to gain from this initiative? Once you've determined the purpose of your advisory board, you can start to identify potential members:

  • Identify your needs: Before identifying potential members, you need to know what you need. Are you hoping to get insights for a new product line? Do you want to learn about regulatory compliance? Or do you need to navigate the investor marketplace? Once you know what you need, it becomes easier to identify potential members.

  • Seek out experts from various fields: While it's great to have representatives from your supply chain on your advisory board, you also need experts from other industries. Industries outside your own can provide fresh insights and new ideas to help you solve issues and make better decisions.

  • Build a diverse board: Your board should reflect the diversity of your organization. This includes everything from geographic location to demographics and more.

The Search...

Now that you know what qualities to look for in potential members, it's time to start identifying who should be on your advisory board.

  • Talk to senior leaders: Start with the leaders in your organization. They may have people in mind that they'd like to get on the board.

  • Invite people who have been helpful in the past: If you've received assistance from someone, consider asking them to join your board. If you can't invite them due to their current obligations, it's always a good idea to extend your thanks and see if they know others who might be able to help.

  • A reputable executive search firm: Is always a good place to enquire (of course, I would say this). An executive search firm is able to provide you with specialists that can add massive value to your company and your investors. Over the years, we have built relationships with a vast number of senior leaders in the industry, all with their own highly unique traits, experiences and skills.

  • Be transparent about the purpose of the board: If you're having trouble identifying the right members, then being open and almost vulnerable about the purpose of your advisory board can be a way to go.

Love your board...

Once you've built your advisory board, it's important to maintain and indeed nurture it so that it continues to provide value:

  • Establish regular meetings: An advisory board meeting once a year isn't enough to keep it relevant and engaged with your business. Ensure you're meeting with your board regularly.

  • Feed your board: Feed your board by giving them access to information and resources that they can use to do their jobs well. This includes everything from information about your business to data and insight from other industries.

Upon Reflection...

The food and ingredients industry is increasingly complex and fast-moving. With so many factors outside of your control, it's important to have a support network that can help you navigate these challenges. An advisory board can provide a valuable support network for your company by providing fresh insights and ideas, helping you identify emerging trends, and providing expertise in various fields. When selecting members for your board, it's important to find people who have expertise that will be relevant to your organisation. It's also important to maintain your board so that it continues to provide value. With an advisory board, you can navigate the complexities of this industry, remain relevant, and stay ahead of the curve.

If you would like to discuss how Meyrick Consulting can help you identify and engage with prospective advisory board members, feel free to reach out!


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