Building your personal board of directors

In movies, there are the stars and there are the supporting actors. Journeys, are best experienced with friends or family; at least that’s my take on it. But we don’t only experience journeys in our personal lives, we experience them in our professional and business lives, too.  Behind every successful person is a group of […]

Seeing around corners. The super powers that non-executives bring to your business

Unless you’ve got special powers, it’s highly likely that you are unable to see around corners!  But wouldn’t that power be a great skill to possess, especially in business? In today’s business landscape, many of the fastest growing privately owned businesses have found a way to do just this – to look around corners!   How […]

Making the step up to become a chair

Making the step up! For many non-executives who have been around the block a few times, it may appeal to become a chair.  Whilst many enjoy the role, it is true that this is not always an obvious move and it simply will not work for many. There are many reasons that a non-executive director […]

What non-executives need to know about Applicant Tracking Systems

Imagine spending all that time on your CV to receive rejection after rejection.  Now compound that with the fact that non-executive director jobs and other fractional director roles are some of the most applied for roles and you face a daunting prospect and little no chance of finding a role through applying. But there are […]

How to start a portfolio career

It’s a conundrum. How to expand your portfolio career when you don’t currently have a portfolio of clients or even any portfolio work to show.  But there is a way. First of all, remember that just because you don’t have a traditional set of clients doesn’t mean you don’t have a portfolio of experience.  Giving […]

How to win your first non-executive director role

Think of finding your first non-executive director role as being a process – similar to starting out in your early career when networking was so important. Aspiring (as well as established) non-executives should use a number of options for professional networking; nowadays, the online option is usually the easiest with in-person still being a tried […]

Mistakes to avoid when networking

We all know that networking is essential for most business professionals.  It is also a key skill that many successful entrepreneurs have fine tuned over many years and this has helped them build world class businesses.  In many instances it has also helped raise billions in venture capital and other financing rounds.  Where most people […]

Making long term business relationships

Remember this: quality trumps quantity every time. So how did we get to the point where some CEOs and business leaders believe that networking is about having the most connections, the most views, the most likes, these days? Only by focusing on quality connections, the ones that actually enhance our professional lives will we flourish as people […]

Board.Ai – The difference between contacts and connections

Why do businesses and (some) professional advisors not get it?  Connecting and meeting are two completely separate terms and yet we seem to believe that “having thousands of connections” is akin to being connected.  Well, it is, but not really! It is vitally important that we differentiate between meeting and connecting. Whilst we undoubtedly use […]

The shareconomy; connecting non-executive directors

The sharing economy (or “shareconomy”) is an economic model defined as Peer-to-Peer (P2P) based activity of acquiring, providing, or sharing access to goods and services that is often facilitated by a community-based online platform. It was the inspiration for the creation of Virtualnonexecs.com. For thousands of years, communities have shared assets, but the dawn of the […]

The first 90 days as a non-executive director

Great!  You’ve found your non-executive director role but now what?  Below are “hints and tips” gathered from speaking with 1000s of established non-executive directors over 20 years. 1. Create your own plan Most C-Level Board Directors will know that one of the most important preparations you can make is to create your work plan. Focusing […]

The sort of climate change we enjoy….

In a recent survey of what makes us typically British, the number one feature was talking about the weather. We all do it. “Mornin’. Bit nippy today, eh?” “Let’s hope this sun’s here to stay!” “Aye, but you should’ve seen the snow when I were a lad!” Non-executives are no different – only when they […]

Selling your business. The value of a strategic exit plan.

Other than losing your virginity, there’s not many things you’ll only do once.  Selling your business is, perhaps one of them! OK, I caught your attention with the rather childish opener! But seriously, selling a business is a major decision and one that can be daunting.  But there is help out there and not just […]

Why an advisory board is the best kept secret of successful entrepreneurs!

Asking (most) Board Advisors if they would like to advise a tech start-up is like asking a car enthusiast if they would like to own James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5.  The answer can only ever be “Yes!” In previous decades, making the connection was much easier, whereas nowadays, start-ups have an eye-watering number of resources […]

Advisory Boards. Can you handle the truth?

“The most inexpensive and value adding decision I have ever taken in my business career.”  This is how one entrepreneurial CEO explained her decision to build an Advisory Board.   What, you’ve not heard of an Advisory Board?  You’re not alone. Put simply, an Advisory Board is an informal body of experts from outside of a […]

Is there really a hidden jobs market?

I saw an old advert yesterday – it was a business from around 15 years ago who promised its clients access to a panacea of £six figure “Off Market” jobs`! . It was eventually sued many hundreds of times and was eventually shut down (No surprise there!)  But it got me thinking about the plethora […]

Why endorsements matter

Think about yourself as a brand.  Every successful brand will experience the positive effect of endorsement, but only a small fraction of companies every pay for them. The same is true in business.  And if you are serious about your non-executive or board advisory career, you should be seeking this magic dust! Think about it; […]

In The Spotlight: Viddyoze on hiring a non-executive director

The Other Side: Hiring My First NED by David Chamberlain, Co-Founder of Viddyoze.com I had heard of Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) many times before. But I never really knew what they did or what role they played in organisations. I also thought that you only ever found them in FTSE-listed companies. Having now gone through the […]

Who is the most powerful, CEO or Chairman?

If you want to witness a great battle (and I mean better than the finale of Gladiator!) then put yourself between a feuding Chairman and CEO!  Of course, these battles are rare but they do make for good (or bad) viewing when they do happen.  But who has more power, the CEO or the Chair? […]

Start-ups. Cry babies, liars and lazy arses need not apply!

Start-ups!  Who needs um, aye? Don’t you find it funny that it is only on rare occasions we hear of start up failures but almost every day we hear of start ups selling for eye watering sums of money?  Almost every business publication leads with headlines of founders “cashing out” for mega bucks!  But what […]

How non-executives are giving SMEs the transfusion they need!

IF YOU’RE EVER IN THE RAT BUSINESS… ‘Come in!’’ — the Mayor cried, looking bigger And in did come the strangest figure! His queer long coat from heel to head Was half of yellow and half of red And he himself was tall and thin, With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin Whether you’re […]

“Boring as rat sh*t”. How to run effective Board meetings.

“Boring as rat sh*t”.  That’s how one CEO explained Board meetings to me, some years ago.  Charming.  But board meetings shouldn’t be perceived as a negative part of running your businesses. As a corporate governance requirement, here are a few ways you can get the maximum from your Board meetings for you and your fellow […]

Rule Number 1 of exporting: Don’t tell a whole nation to “F**k off”!

So, you’ve made the decision to expand your customer base and therefore your profitability by looking to export. A wise move, especially in today’s global market. A company that exports its goods, services etc is far more likely to grow at a faster rate than if it had focused exclusively on the domestic market. It […]

Tips for getting more leads from LinkedIn

If you can count on the fingers of one foot the number of leads you have had from Linkedin, then you are missing a trick or five! In this article I will explore the simplest ways for non-executive directors and others to quickly maximise the chances of success on LinkedIn. What is in it for […]

7 reasons you are not getting that non-executive director job

Your non-executive director attempts are failing. Your CV is being ignored. Ring true? It usually starts with that coveted document you have spent much time (and possibly money) on! THE CV/RESUME! It’s an age old problem; you’ve got the experience, you’ve got the credibility but the CV keeps falling on deaf ears!  But why?  Well, […]

Are non-executives caught up in IR35?

How does IR35 impact NEDs and can you operate through your own limited company? As a Non-Executive Director (NED), by very definition, you are an expert in your area.  Invariably you will be asked to take on consultancy work, be that at the organisation you perform your Non-Exec duties or within another organisation.  In this […]

Peter Thiel’s top tips include “Do one thing uniquely well”.

There are not many people on the planet as successful as Peter Thiel. He’s made £billions from various tech companies and follow on investments. When it comes to business, he’s no mug. Here is his Top Ten tips on being successful. Our thoughts follow the vieo below: Do one thing uniquely well. Without any doubt, […]

Retired. Now what? How about a non-executive director career?

You’ve spent 30 or 40 years working in your full time, executive or senior management role and all of a sudden, you’re “retired”. Great.  If you can handle retirement and were counting down the days til you could pack the golf clubs in to the back of the car and saunter on down to the […]

SHOW ME THE MONEY! How much do non-executives get paid?

Ironically, it’s the sixty four million dollar question; “How much do non-executive directors get paid?” Let’s explore! Hopefully you saw the irony in the image because if you’re in it for the money, you should probably find a new direction.  If you want to really get into the bones of a company and work with […]

Diversity in Boardrooms

By Bram Vis – Guest Contributor Businesses succeed or fail for all sorts of reasons – not in the scope of this of this presentation – but we all are very familiar with the usual suspects –  The right product The right price for the product The right skillset of the company going forward The […]

The questions to ask a non-exective director

It often starts and ends with “strategy” when it comes to the role of a non-executive director when reviewing the composition of a Board of Directors.  Over the last fifteen years in the Non-Exec space, the critical priority for boards has been aligning talent with the strategy of the company; get this wrong and it […]

New Kids On The Block: Digital Non-Executive Directors

‘Oh brave new world, that has such people in it!’ Shakespeare, who wrote the above line in his play The Tempest, would have perfectly understood the simple truth in the saying Omnia mutantur nos et mutamur in illis. After all, Latin was an essential part of his schooling. Confused? OK. Let me explain. Everyone who […]

Singing like a canary: The value of the non-executive director

At one time, when coal miners needed to test the quality of air deep underground, they employed canaries, who were more susceptible to the presence of toxic gases than humans. When a canary stopped singing, it was a sure sign of danger ahead. That was all well and good in coal mining [unless of course […]

Who can help my business in tough situations?

“Denial,” said Mark Twain, “ain’t just a river in Egypt.” Mark Twain wasn’t talking specifically about start-up companies, or companies in general, but his words ring true, nevertheless. Many companies think they can get along quite nicely without the need for outside directors. Why bring ’em in when we can make all the right decisions […]

What have non-executive directors ever done for us?

Let’s be honest, who needs Non-Execs? All right, they might bring a clear-eyed detachment to some of the more difficult decisions you’ll have to make, because they’re seeing the issues with a fresh and new perspective. But if I want clear-eyed, new perspectives I can go to an optician’s. See? And please don’t come out […]

Non-Executive Directors- languishing in recruiters’ purgatory!

There was a director called Joe Who wanted his business to grow. Someone said, ‘N.E.Ds Used to cost us big fees But it ain’t necessarily so!’ There is still a place for headhunters – recruiters – to help fill executive positions, but for non-executive directorships, there are alternative ways for companies to make the right […]

VirtualNonExecs.com – It’s about time!

Imagine your television breaks down. Or your combi-boiler? Or your computer? Where do you look for someone to fix things? Well, there are several places to go – foremost of which are a plethora of “all things to all men” directory sites like the (now online version of…) Yellow Pages. Remember that big yellow book? […]

The inexorable rise of the Digital Non-Executive Director

The Game’s Afoot! Oscar Wilde once said, “It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.” He was, of course, speaking with his usual irony, but in this data-rich age his words have never rung truer. Every contact your company makes with the consumer, even on the most minuscule level, […]

“Whatifitis” – Nasty disease affecting entrepreneurs!

Anyone Entrepreneurs Suffering From Whatifitis? Companies often cast a suspicious eye on the idea of bringing onto the board non-executive directors. This fear and wariness develops because of exposure to an insidious and debilitating disorder: Ignorance. OK, it seems somewhat ironic, accusing an entrepreneur of fear. Someone with the vision and the courage [two essential […]

Money for nothin’ and your (drinks) for free. No longer.

The days of free lunches, sleepy afternoons in a comfortable board room chair and money for nothin are long gone! Taking a role as a non-executive director isn;t a breeze and for those who think it’s a pocket money job are mistaken; it brings with it huge responsibilities. You’ve been brought onto the board to […]

Why accountants could be your best bet finding your first non-executive role

Accountants, love um or hate um are “plugged in”. What do I mean by “plugged in”? Well, I don’t mean they’re attached to a power socket! Accountants are often the first port of call for most entrepreneurs – tax headache, audit requirement, help recruiting a finance director into their business – the list goes on. […]

Innovation Versus Disruption. More Than One Way To Kill A Fly!

There’s a lot of chatter these days about disrupting practices in business. Someone comes along with a new idea that changes the way we look at things – new products or services that challenge established ones and cause some consternation among those companies who have been hitherto happy to coast along [a phrase that could […]