The US has at its fingertips an unequivocal array of talent and expertise. Coexisting alongside the boom in start-ups, successful SMBs and a thriving LLC community, is a uniquely varied blend of expertise in the form of Managing Directors, Growth Accelerator coaches, Chairmen and Chairwomen, as well as young innovative entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals, all of whom have something to offer to the twenty eight million SMBs that are playing a key role in the recovery of the US economy.
Every single company that has a vision to grow and to be successful, from the tiniest bedroom start up to the ‘Big Four’, needs to access and engage with this talent, and as such, it is imperative that organisations explore the realm of Outside Directors whilst individuals simultaneously offer their services in bid to boost growth and form effective Outside Director boards at all levels of business.
According to a paper by Ian Gordon, Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development in the UK, “NEDs [the term for Outside Directors in the UK] are beneficial for the growth of small business (Daily and Dalton, 1992; Cowling, 2003; Brunninge et al, 2007)….NEDs can add value to the growth aspirations of a SME and improve their decision making capability (CIMA, 2001; Gabrielsson and Huse, 2005)…In Clutterbuck & Waine, (1994) they quote Sir Adrian Cadbury saying, “It is widely accepted that boards gain from a combination of internal and external directors.” “
In Mike W. Peng’s paper, “Outside Directors & Firm Performance During Institutional Transitions”
Virtually any individual with a specific sector expertise, and who possesses great contacts alongside vision and entrepreneurialism, could potentially have the talent and skillset to become a highly effective Non-Executive Director. Furthermore, anybody who has run their own business, whether having achieved tremendous success or experienced the depths of bankruptcy quite often has the hindsight, experience and objectivity much needed by SMEs and corporate organisations. In fact, an EU report published last year stated that business failures should be embraced and regarded as valuable experience, and that Europe should adopt a more American approach to entrepreneurialism and their ‘have a go’ mentality.
In the 2011 report, ‘A Good Piece of Advice – How You Can Use Non-Executive Directors to Unlock Value in Your Business’, commissioned by Coutts, Andrew Haigh, Managing Partner for The Entrepreneurs Client Group stated,
"The overall feedback from business owners is that Non-Executive Directors can prove a vital resource, filling skills gaps and adding an independent, external perspective."
According to the report, key criteria for judging the suitability of a Non-Executive Director to fulfill a role are track record (89%) and strategic strength (73%). Non-Executives tend to agree with 83% citing their strategic strength as the key criteria for which a business should judge the quality of an NED. Over half (57%) of entrepreneurs said a broad commercial career experience was a pre-requisite for the role of Non-Executive Director.
Considering that Non-Executive Directors appear to hold the key to economic growth and entrepreneurial success across multiple industries, NonExecutiveDirectors.com is playing a key role in building relations and introducing high growth businesses to top tier talent. The organisation formed in 2013 and the network is now being used by hundreds of SMEs, government departments, Trading Standards, The Royal British Legion and a range of household names.