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Hiring Outside Directors When Private Companies Don't Have To: They Bring Change
John Collard -- Turnaround Interim Management Expert John Collard -- Turnaround Interim Management Expert
Annapolis, MD
Sunday, July 9, 2023

Hiring Outside Directors When Private Companies Don’t Have To: They Bring Change

Board Leadership, a Wiley Periodicals LLC publication, published this article by John M. Collard, a turnaround manager and outside director. In this article we discuss the ins and outs of bringing in outside directors to help guide decision-making and bring fresh perspectives.




www.StrategicMgtPartners.com/brdleader.pdf   Formatted Version


Article-of-Interest Summary:


Hiring Outside Directors When Private Companies Don't Have To: They Bring Change


By John M. Collard


You need these guys … to increase cash flow, provide valuable guidance, contacts, and credibility.


Companies committed to going through significant business change (restart, turnaround, transition, generational ownership transfer), anticipating a major liquidity event, need guidance.


Why Add Outsiders to Your Board of Directors or Advisors?

  • Outside directors often increase cash flow and business growth. According to a Forbes/Lodestone Global survey; 97% of companies reported increased revenues and EBITDA, since adding a board with outside directors.
  • Outside directors can be a low-risk, low-cost resource. They bring a new set of skills and ideas to produce benefits, while you maintain control.
  • Outside directors provide an external source of accountability.
  • Outside directors are on your side. These advisors answer only to you.
  • Outside directors add credibility. When it comes time for a liquidity seeking event, outside directors send the message that you are an organization with leadership and guidance.
  • Outside directors bring an independent perspective, develop strategic thinking and planning, utilize their experience and objectivity, provide their contacts Rolodex, find capital to finance the company, and guide transaction activity. Many of these benefits are absent in companies, so the outside influence should be used to your benefit. Remember, the key is for the CEO and management team to listen to the advice given and factor these inputs into their thinking, then make decisions.


Benefits of Outside Directors



Independent perspective

Unbiased advice

Challenge management

Sounding board for CEO

Objective, Mediate conflicts

Strategic thinking and


New directions, Transitions

Incentive-based compensation

Experience and objectivity

New knowledge

Been there, done that

Oversee performance and risk

Accountability, Credibility



Investors, Lenders, Resources

Partners, Customers, Suppliers

Capital infusion

Raise Money, Restructure

Guide offering process

Find capital


Prepare company for sale

Locate interested parties

Negotiate a deal


Create a culture and structure that will withstand third-party accountability to add value to your business. Start thinking as a serious, growing company and prepare for future life as a public company or for increased scrutiny of investors.


Independent Perspective

Day-to-day events often distract a CEO. An outside adviser provides a sounding board to ground the CEO in real leadership duties. Typically, a board will focus on protecting the unique value of the company, but they often add much more.


The CEO needs unbiased advice and diversity of opinions from outside directors who can view things from a distance and a different perspective. The CEO will be well served by adding board members who can challenge the decisions that they are about to make. You want board members who are not afraid to offer advice, guidance, feedback, and argument on issues, while employee board members may be in fear of speaking up. Board members can mediate disputes.


Strategic Thinking and Planning

Outside directors should challenge and contribute to strategy development and implementation. They can be particularly adept at guiding the company into new markets, or changing directions when trouble occurs. Because these outsiders have experienced these situations before, they can certainly guide you to success with less trepidation.


Once strategy is set, communicate that message for all stakeholders to understand. Provide guidance. Which generic customer needs will be satisfied? Why will they buy? Why will they buy from you? Differentiate yourself from your competition. There is nothing quite so effective as designing compensation and incentive plans that are paid out when goals are met, but, don't pay for nonperformance. Incentive-based management is extremely effective.


Experience and Objectivity

The very nature of growth implies that a company is going where it has not been before. It is refreshing to make that journey to new opportunities with the help of an objective adviser who has been there, and done that before. Understand the idiosyncrasies of the new market: doing business with the federal government is quite different from doing business in commercial and international markets. Sell products and services to customers in the way that they want to be sold to.


When independent observers scrutinize management performance meeting goals and objectives, and monitoring results compared to long-term valuation goals, there is real value in their participation.



Your contact book can't include everyone. Every company needs help when it wants to grow, prosper, or turn around. Outside directors can extend the company's reach by using their own contact network, colleagues who can get involved to provide guidance and resources. Some outside directors have more quality contacts than others.


Rely on these introductions to bring in new capital, customers, and suppliers. Strive for strategic teaming relationships to promote growth. Contacts can be influential in bringing resources not previously available.


Capital Infusion

Outside directors often have a database of contacts who can supply capital, in the form of equity and/or debt. Some have more extensive and higher-quality databases than others. This means that you can get in front of many financing resources quickly once an expression of interest or offering package is ready. The key is to document the plan describing where you want to go and why you will succeed, put that in summary and detail form, describe assumptions and risks, and present rate of return projections. Present your opportunity in terms the investor or lender wants to see —your company is the product. Investors are in this for returns on their investment.


Prepare for the stringent criteria of financing sources. Begin this process early so that you are prepared when the time comes. Consider a 2-page (executive introduction), 10-page (present the deal opportunity), list of due diligence (details) available, and operating plan approach, to step potential interested parties through the process. Send the introduction to 100s or 1,000s of potential investors.


An outside director, as part of the company, can be a finder to introduce you to investors and/or lenders and guide the process—you then negotiate a deal that you can live with. The key is to prioritize the flow of introductions and manage the diligence process. There is money available, just be the "good deal."



Outside directors also often have a database of investor contacts who have deals for acquisition and who are looking for opportunities to buy. You can get in front of M&A dealmakers quickly once an offering package is ready. Use a similar approach as described earlier.


Prepare for that future liquidity event. The best time to sell a company is when a buyer wants to buy and has cash, which could come when you least expect it. Be prepared and work toward ultimate valuation throughout the process of growth. Privately held and family-owned companies should demonstrate that they can be run independently, without the owner, to maximize their valuation. Buyers don't pay for past sins, and they don't pay much for companies who are heavily reliant on the owner. There is much more value in the company when the management team (without owner), processes, and procedures control the company to produce results.


Outside directors are often adept at introductions or negotiating deals. They then elevate you (management and the board) to the decision-making role.


Hire that outside director. ¦




About the Author: John M. Collard

John is Chairman of Strategic Management Partners, Inc. (410-263-9100, www.StrategicMgtPartners.com ) in Annapolis, Maryland.  John is a Certified Turnaround Professional (CTP), and a Certified International Turnaround Manager (CITM), who brings over 35 years senior operating leadership, $85M+ asset and investment recovery, 45+ transactions worth $1.2B, new business developed $950M+ and win ratio 3.5 of 5.0, and $80M fund management expertise to run troubled companies, serve on and advise company boards of directors, and raise capital. John has served as CEO, CRO, Receiver, senior executive to turn around troubled entities, and serves as an outside director.  John is enshrined in Turnaround Management, Restructuring, and Distressed Investing Industry Hall of Fame. John is Past Chairman of the Turnaround Management Association (TMA), Past Chairman of the Association of Interim Executives (AIE), and a Senior Fellow of the Turnaround Management Society. John is a co-Founder of TMA. John is Prince George's Business Leader of the Year. John is honored with the Interim Management Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Interim Executives. John is honored as Most Admired CEO in Maryland by Daily Record. John is honored with SmartCEO Distinguished Leadership Award.


About the Firm:

Strategic Management Partners, Inc. (www.StrategicMgtPartners.com 410-263-9100)  is a turnaround management firm specializing in interim management and executive CEO leadership, asset and investment recovery, board and private equity advisory, raising money, and investing in and rebuilding underperforming distressed troubled companies. The firm has been advisor to Presidents Bush (41 & 43), Clinton, Reagan, and Yeltsin, World Bank, EBRD, Company Boards, and Equity Capital Investors on leadership, rebuilding troubled companies, investment recovery, turnaround management and equity investing. SMP is celebrating 25+ years of service to its clients. SMP was named Maryland's Small Business of the Year, and received the Governor's Citation, Governor Martin J. O'Malley, The State of Maryland as a special tribute to honor work in the areas of turning around troubled companies and saving jobs in Maryland.  Turnarounds & Workouts Magazine has twice named SMP among the 'Top Outstanding Turnaround Management Firms'. American Business Journals named SMP among the Most Active Turnaround Management and Consulting Firms in Baltimore, Washington, and the Mid-Atlantic Region.  Global M&A Network Turnaround Atlas Awards named SMP as Boutique Turnaround Consulting Firm of the Year.


Strategic Management Partners, Inc.: turnaround managers ready to run troubled companies, recover assets from investments gone bad, advise boards of directors and investors on company viability in distressed situations.  We provide strong interim and operational leadership, strategic planning, financial, defense conversion, sales and marketing acumen developed building organizations in large and small companies, including President of public & private middle-market companies providing solutions to Commercial, Federal Government, International markets. Enterprises range from start-up to $100+mil. Industry expertise: Manufacturing; Job Shop; Engineering Services; Computer Processing/Services/Software/Integration; Communications; Defense Electronics; Aerospace; Federal Government Contracting; Systems Integration; High-Tech; Finance; Marine Services; Real Estate Development; Construction; Fabrication; and Printing.







www.StrategicMgtPartners.com   Turnaround Managers


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Hiring Outside Directors When Private Companies Don't Have To: They Bring Change Published by Board Leadership, a Wiley Periodicals publication.


Turnarounds Explained. An Interview with John M. Collard Published by Finance Monthly.


Building Value In Companies To Prepare Them For Sale: Investing In Distressed Opportunities Published by Corporate Live Wire Expert Guide on Bankruptcy and Restructuring.


Fixer-Uppers: Rebuilding Value Published by Private Company Director


Raising Money Capital Published by Chief Executive Magazine


Is Your Company in Trouble?  Published by Corporate Board Magazine


Managing Turnarounds Phases and Actions Published by RMA Journal


Social Media:

John M. Collard on Facebook at  http://www.facebook.com/JohnMCollard


John M. Collard on LinkedIn at  http://www.linkedin.com/in/JohnMCollard


John M. Collard on Twitter at  http://twitter.com/JohnCollard


Collard on NewsReleaseWire



www.StrategicMgtPartners.com  Turnaround Management Experts






News Media Interview Contact
Name: John M. Collard
Group: Strategic Management Partners, Inc.
Dateline: Annapolis, MD United States
Direct Phone: 410-263-9100
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