Designing your governance structure
It’s worth taking the time to actively design an effective Board to help you make crucial top-level decisions. The key to a strong board is diversity – this means identifying where you have skills or knowledge gaps in your governance team and filling these gaps with the right directors.
If you are targeting new markets, then it makes sense to find directors who have done this for their own companies.
Recruiting your directors
The best way to approach recruiting a director is in the same way you would hire a senior executive. There are many companies in New Zealand that specialise in Board-level recruitment and if you have the money, budget for this. A good consultancy should work hard to get to know your business needs and find complementary people.
If you do not have the money to outsource your Board recruitment, you will need to do your homework.
- Tap into your customer network (but beware of creating a conflict – eg they may not want you to contact their competitors).
- Social networks like LinkedIn are a good place to start.
- Contact business incubators in your area.
- Ask your customers if they can recommend any of their contacts.
- Contact the Institute of Directors.
- Be creative with your payment options (meet less often or offer small amounts of equity).
If you get it right, your Board meetings should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for your directors, who all have the opportunity to shape the future of your business and share in its success.
Recruiting the right people at the right time
Getting the right people on board to support your growth into new markets doesn’t happen by accident. You will need to be clear in your strategy about when you need people to join your organisation and allow time to recruit them.
Remember that when it comes to recruitment, being responsive to increased orders from overseas can sometimes mean you are forced to make rushed decisions, which could mean making poor hires or being unprepared financially.
- Get the right Board in place – make sure at least one of your directors has been involved in recruiting for export. A good Board will help you define the process for a hire and also assist in final selection.
- Actively build recruitment into your export strategy.
- Robust cashflow management can also help you predict when you will be able to afford to hire new people.