Should you use a non-executive director to help you build your business?
What is a non-executive director?
A non-executive director (NED, also NXD) is an individual who will work part-time for your business, bringing knowledge and experience to your board and executive team. NEDs will often have multiple directorships, dividing their time between different businesses, and will typically have enjoyed a successful business career.
Why would you consider appointing a non-executive director?
NEDs can bring significant benefits to companies of all sizes, including one or more of the following:
Experience – many NEDs have either seen or dealt with the problem before.
An objective perspective on your business, seeing opportunities that you may otherwise overlook.
Help in fast-tracking the growth of your business.
Expert insight and knowledge of your business sector.
Contacts and relationships with potential customers and suppliers.
Business intelligence and knowledge of your competitors.
Valuable input into strategy.
Financial expertise to help you raise development capital, sell or float your business.
Risk management skills to help you stay in business and avoid costly, or even fatal, mistakes.
Good judgement and people skills, adding value to your senior recruitment strategy.
Strong relationships with professional advisers, matching skills to your particular business needs.
What’s the potential downside?
In smaller companies, management may question the worth of the role of the NED. Be sure to clarify the specific reasons for the NED appointment at the outset.
NEDs who are brought in without a specific focus may not deliver value for money.
NEDs with strong views or relevant experience may be tempted to interfere where they are not needed.
NEDs will need to be paid for their involvement. As directors, they will give their time and are responsible for the conduct of the business, alongside the executive directors.