SWIG Finance supports hundreds of new and growing South West SMEs every year. Our experience tells us that those companies with growth aspirations are far more likely to achieve and sustain their ambitions with the backing of a well- rounded and experienced board of directors.

As part of our guest content series, we approached Executive Recruitment Specialists, Moon Executive Search, to give their views  on makes an effective board.

We all know a board is the strategic hub of any business. They cover many aspects from governance, establishing the polices to set the standard, but also are future facing about where to go next, who to acquire and where and how to add value. Value can be intrinsic as well as physical, from wellbeing, community engagement to bringing in new product areas and revenue streams.

Boards are often naturally diverse places; for example, people that have dedicated themselves to being a marketeer will have knowledge of a totally different landscape than the finance director. This is human nature. The stakeholder or end-user of the business will benefit from the variety of the boardroom. The board will often look towards many different and comparable skillsets when searching for a new member:

  • Leadership skills
  • Statutory and Fiduciary skills such as legal, financial, shareholder and investor dealings
  • Expertise specific to the need of the organisation such as R&D, Digital or E Commerce
  • Long-range planning
  • Communication skills
  • Engagement with community, education and voluntary sector

The individual directors must have accountability for their area of the business, along with the collective responsibility for the organisation that they share between them. They are also required to annually review the performance of the CEO and vice versa. They have a duty to both internal and external stakeholders to create value and advance the company.

Here at Moon Executive Search, we understand what makes a great board and wanted to highlight where we see added value:

Experience vs Opportunity – whilst youth input is important for a board, members that are too green will lack the required experience to have made them a master of their discipline. However, it can sometimes be worth considering a mentor for a less experienced Board member and Moon work with many mentors in this regard.

Detailed or not – if a board fails to delegate and micromanages the company then they could lose their strategic focus.

Seize the day – instead of not being brave enough to take the opportunity to grow and scale up the business.

Have a plan – if the planning for the company is poorly thought-out, the execution of the strategy will be irrelevant.

Assess your board skills – be strong about who makes the decisions as in the long term the shareholder may suffer.

Talk, have fun, be open and enjoy the role – enjoying the journey means a board is likely to be more innovative and creative. The ability of the directors to discuss their areas of the business’ strengths and weaknesses as a board has a huge impact on their future. The communication between the board members must be open and honest, with industry insights into the future.

So, in summary, for a board to be solid and provide expert leadership, there must be balance. The relationships and ideas of the board will define the future of an organisation; for better or for worse. The directors have to be informed on their decision making. A company should look to position leaders with totally different backgrounds to the other directors. A wide range of skillsets, personalities and experience alongside hard work, execution and effective communication is what comprises a truly great board.

About Moon Executive Search

Moon Executive Search provide bespoke solutions for clients, using our extensive expertise and knowledge gained from twenty years of recruiting to find your perfect candidate.

If you are looking to appoint a senior leader to your Board, visit Build Your Board to get started, or call us on 01275 371200.

We are here to help in these unprecedented times.

About SWIG

SWIG Finance is an accredited delivery partner for the British Business Bank’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

We provide loans from £25,000 to £250,000 to South West SMEs who cannot access sufficient support from their bank.

If you are a viable business but your cash flow has been disrupted, or if you have lost revenue, get in touch with our friendly and professional team to find out how we can help: info@swigfinance.co.uk / 01872 227 932.

Alternatively, for more information, visit https://www.swigfinance.co.uk/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/