So, you have made two important decisions: first, to utilize a board of directors and second, to have an outside director who is not associated with the day-to-day operations of your company. Now, how do you find a capable candidate?
The first step is to develop a job description outlining expectations and anticipated time commitments, as well as a skill set inventory for the right candidates. What is important to you at this stage of your company—industry expertise, business acumen, functional background, growth experience, access to strategic contacts, etc.?
Next, identify candidates that fit your criteria. The best places to prospect for candidates are to talk to your professional advisors (accountant, lawyer, banker, insurance broker, etc.), contact applicable industry associations, review annual reports for local public companies, engage an executive recruiter, contact the National Association of Corporate Directors, and talk to other business owners you know.
After you have identified prospects, make sure you personally contact them to explore the opportunity and start the interview process. They will want to hear your vision, passion, and desires, which will help them determine whether the opportunity is a good fit for them.
One warning—try to stay away from friends and relatives. You are looking for someone to hold you accountable, provide strategic, objective strategies, and challenge you and other members of management. Often this is difficult, if not impossible, for friends and family to do effectively.
Adding an outside director can provide a significant benefit to your organization. These are a few helpful hints to navigate the process but I would be interested to hear your success stories in identifying the right candidates for your organization.