Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in consultancy but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Beverly Behan, President of Board Advisor, LLC., located in New York, NY, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I unlock the potential of Boards of Directors so that executives come out of board meetings saying, "Wow!". My clients are primarily Board Chairs, Chief Executive Officers, and Governance Committee Chairs of S&P1500 public company boards.

Tell us about yourself

I became interested in boards in the mid-1990s when, as an impressionable young attorney at a large company in Canada (one which no longer exists), I witnessed a series of poor decisions by a board filled with marquee-name directors lead to the demise of this company and 40,000 people losing their jobs. I have the privilege of working with the board and corporate leaders on significant issues that impact boards, the companies they govern, the people who work at those companies, and the people who invest in them. I believe a board should be a beacon of excellence at the very top of any organization.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Being able to far exceed the income I was making as a partner/ managing director of some high-profile consulting firms (Mercer Delta
Hay Group). But there are two things I'm particularly proud of/happy about in terms of my business:

  1. About five years ago, I undertook a particularly challenging assignment for a very high-profile board in the Fortune 500; it resulted in the board giving me a standing ovation for my work
  2. I've had the privilege of working with boards across the United States as well as in other countries around the world, including those in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

It's 24/7, particularly when you have an international practice. I work most weekends too. If you love what you do, it makes it a lot easier to handle this type of commitment.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make sure you've done this work in some context before you start the business. For me, I'd already been advising on board effectiveness issues with a range of boards across the US and internationally as a partner with Mercer Delta and Managing Director of the Global Board Effectiveness Practice of the Hay Group before going on my own.
  2. I'm a good writer, and the first thing I did when I started Board Advisor was written Great Companies Deserve Great Boards (2011, Palgrave MacMillan). It was named Governance Book of the Year by Directors & Boards magazine and became a governance classic. It was basically the foundation of my practice and drove a lot of business my way. So, if you've ever thought about doing a book that relates to your business, I'd strongly encourage that.
  3. Recognize that running your own business is a 24/7 type of undertaking for most people. You need to love the work you're doing, of I don't think you'll have the stamina to keep that pace over the long haul.

Where can people find you and your business?

Website: https://boardadvisor.net/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Beverly-Behan/e/B001HPPQ9C%3Fref
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/beverly-behan/

Books:
Great Companies Deserve Great Boards: A CEO's Guide to the Boardroom
Becoming a Boardroom Star
Board and Director Evaluations: Innovations for 21st Century Governance Committees


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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