In the business world, independent retailers are often seen as not “really” a business. Vendors and technology solutions focus on the big players. Small retailers who deliver every day know that is not true. That is why retailers building for the long term bring on a board of directors early. Because a board can act as jet fuel for growth.

Common Obstacles

Retail owners can be the obstacle. Maybe because they think of themselves as “just one store.” But too often they forego common structures a “real business” would put in place. Examples include HR policies, benefit plans and a board of directors.

Too many retail owners believe a board will limit their agility or reaction time in the market. In fact, the best boards put measurements in place so that business leaders can track their progress faster and predict outcomes more accurately. Therefore, a company with strategies set by a board is more likely to remain true to its brand. It is less likely to waste resources chasing the “next shiny new thing.”

What A Board Can Do

Directors are legally obligated to make decisions in the best interest of the business. That in itself, makes them a deep well of decision-making mastery. Thus a board strengthens the strategic direction of the company. A board will advocate for strategic focus in every major expenditure.

A Board of Directors holds management accountable for reaching strategic goals. With a board in place, retail leaders can focus on flawless execution instead of constantly revisiting strategic planning each quarter. A Board of Directors can align the company so it makes real progress in its daily operations.

A Board of Directors sees across industries. It helps a company learn what it doesn’t know. With careful selection, a Board of Directors should have insight into industry trends, finance, compensation, talent retention, IT and sales development. A board with experience in many disciplines can help a retailer forecast changes and make preparations and adjustments. A board can help a company learn before it makes mistakes.

A Board should align to the customers the retailer serves. For instance, a children’s bookstore should include educators on its board. A fashion retailer should include a style influencer. A grocery store should include a food supplier or chef. The best boards include women, people of color and a variety of education and experience levels. An example of a poor board of directors aligns to a narrow skill set and make up. A board of directors is one of the easiest ways for a company to add diverse voices to help it make better decisions.

It is never too early to put a Board of Directors in place for your retail. From day one, a board can provide guidance, innovation and sustainable growth. For retail expertise, contact us now to discuss a Board for your retail operations.

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