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Five Lessons Learned from Investing in a Government Advisory Board

Joanne Connelly

So, you’ve made the leap and invested in an advisory board—10 former government executives with direct experience in those agencies where you hope to grow your business.

You’ve given yourself the chance to get specific advice from true subject matter experts: people who know government from the inside because they have been on the inside.

How can you make your investment—and the time from these very valuable individuals—pay off in the best possible ways?  Twelve months and four meetings later, here are five typical lessons learned from our clients:

  • Time out of the government is just a number. People who remain engaged with the community through consulting, volunteer or social  activities can be just as effective as people a year out from their retirement. When sourcing members, don’t discount those for whom the retirement party is but a distant memory.
  • Size matters. You need a group that is big enough to support robust dialog, but not so big that you are unable to sustain a meaningful conversation. For every company, the number is different, but on average five is too small and 20 is too big.
  • Like all relationships, effective advisory boards take time to build. You want individuals who understand the government space but also have chemistry with other board members. What begins as a one-way broadcast from company to board members soon turns to an effective dialog about unique challenges and opportunities within the government market.
  • Building and running an advisory board isn’t something that should be done internally. The point is to widen your circle and expose yourself to new experiences and perspectives that can inform your go-to-market plan. While it’s important to get the perspective of someone who helped use your product or service, it’s almost more important to get the perspective of someone who didn’t.
  • It’s worth the investment. It’s not the cheapest, but having an advisory board is one of the most effective ways of strengthening your thought leadership while supporting your executive team and sales function.

If you'd like to explore the benefits of an advisory board, Yes& would be happy to share more lessons learned and best practices.

Yes& is the Washington, DC-based marketing agency that brings commercial, association, and government clients the unlimited power of “&” – using a full suite of branding, digital, event, marketing, public relations, and creative capabilities to deliver meaningful and measurable results.

Let’s talk about what the power of "&" can do for you.

Joanne Connelly