It’s never too early for an entrepreneurial board of advisers, if you think of them as a small circle of experts from whom you gain guidance and mentorship that’s relevant to your major business questions. Please note, these people are not to be primarily considered as sources of free consulting to help you with your business tactics, but more as strategic guides and mentors. They can help you think through your direction and also help you connect with people who might provide more tactical types of assistance.

Selecting the right folks is one of the first challenges. For example, if your accountant or your attorney is on your board, it instantly becomes difficult to talk through strategic issues that might result in a change in professional providers. A second challenge is to be prepared to change advisers as you and your company change. If you build an understanding of timing into board membership when you first approach potential advisers, it makes changing members easier to deal with graciously as you grow.

Patricia Greene Dean, Undergraduate School President’s Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship Babson College Wellesley, Mass.

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