An important element of a great business many overlook is assembling a diverse advisory board, committed to developing your organization and exchanging knowledge. The right people bring innovative ideas, create opportunities and help a company move forward faster toward its stated objectives (or ones they didn’t even think possible). In fact, having the right people involved can be more important than having capital, because good ideas and good companies can attract low-cost capital. And it is important to note that an advisory board is different than a board of directors, focused solely on governance. The advisory members bring experience and views not found within the business, who are prepared to challenge the expectations, capabilities and vision of the organization. Jeff rejoins The Second Stage to explore this topic in depth, providing suggestions for attracting those individuals that will push your organization to new heights.

When it comes to economic growth in Michigan, one size does not fit all. Take a look at the varying scope and scale of companies here and you’ll find a general pattern of three different types of businesses associated with different regions:  large multinational corporations in Southeast Michigan, small high-tech start-ups in Ann Arbor, and family-owned, mid-size companies in Western Michigan.

Each of these micro-economies has its own set of dynamics. In the Detroit metro area, big companies connected to the auto industry and heavy manufacturing dominate. These organizations are sensitive to changes in the economic climate, and when the industry falters, nearly everything falters with it. The good news, though, is that these large organizations provide stability in the region. (more…)