The Value of a Non Executive Director in the Technology Sector
If you’re looking to grow your tech business past a size of a half dozen employees or a yearly turnover of £250,000, it may be time for you to consider hiring a Non Executive Director (NED) or Board Advisor.
In most situations, a Non-Executive Director is a permanent hire with extensive experience working with other organisations within the UK technology sector. They provide skills, insights, and wisdom your tech company may hugely benefit from, and they may help you answer crucial questions that you haven’t even started asking.
Your Board Advisor provides objective advice to your UK tech company, helping to navigate your company’s overall strategy. They also often have extensive contacts and are highly respected within the technology sector, but this shouldn’t be considered the primary reason you hire a Non-Executive Director – this is not a sales role.
Board Advisors or NEDs provide mentoring and coaching services, but these roles are also not the same. Rather than building direct, one-on-one relationships, as a typical coach or mentor does, the Non-Executive Director is working to best grow the entire business in a sustainable, holistic manner, possibly providing mentoring to the CEO or MD along the way.
This individual will help your tech company achieve your goals and realise your vision faster than if they weren’t on your team. Typically working with you 1-2 days per month, they help bring your organisation into alignment, attend strategy meetings to help you develop business plans, marketing, and sales strategies, and are active during Board meetings. Furthermore, they can be reached by phone or email when needed.
If your strategy is not yet in alignment, this is your very first priority once you bring on a Non-Executive Director.
To help find a suitable Advisor, you and your business partners should begin by asking yourself a few questions:
- What do I want from a Non-Executive Director?
- What key values do I want them to believe in?
- Do they need to be located in the same region as my business?
Once your team has answered these questions, you can move forward with your search. Once you have found qualified individuals who could potentially do the job well, you’ll want to determine whether or not they’re a good fit within your tech company’s culture. You’ll want to work with someone you get along well with, as you may be spending hours in meetings together as your UK-based tech company grows.
Upon bringing your strategy into alignment, here are several ways to keep yourself and your team focused and moving forward:
- Determine what your tech company’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are, and use them to assess your how business is performing each month. However, don’t let these numbers consume you or paralyse your business.
- Develop a thorough understanding of your management accounts. Keep detailed notes and be sure that someone on your team is able to tell the story of that client.
- Talk about your big picture strategy on a quarterly basis. Don’t let day to day operations consume your Board meetings.
- Use business management tools to keep detailed records of what needs to be done, what’s being done, and what’s been completed across your entire technology company.
- Take minutes during your Board meetings – be sure to document key decisions that get made, and cover this at the beginning of your next meeting.
- Create a comprehensive agenda to serve as a template for your Board meetings. At least a week before your next Board meeting, ask everyone on your team what additional agenda items they need to address.