I get asked two or three times a week why my company, AST E-Commerce, has a board of directors. The answer is quick and easy: Why wouldn’t we have a board?

As a young, aggressive distributor (AST E-Commerce was launched 40 months ago), we pride ourselves on being different. We have found that one of our distinct points of differentiation sits within our strategic vision of having a board. This 12-member body has truly been a fundamental foundation that has helped us grow more than 300-percent over the past two years. Here are the elements that are driving that success:

  • The board is comprised of a diverse group of successful business professionals whose unique skills directly influence our client-first approach to service.
  • Each member was strategically approached to serve based on his or her career expertise. It also helped that each had a personal connection to our company and/or family so they have the best interest of our success at heart.
  • None of the board members have any financial interest in our firm nor do we meet on a regular basis. This is an unconventional strategy that has proven to be very successful (four of the members live out of state).
  • The board ultimately acts as a group of advisors for every discipline of the business—finance, operations, marketing, HR, strategic planning, sales, IT, exit planning, etc.
  • I own all communication and overall management responsibility with our board. Typically, I distribute one comprehensive email summary each month to update members on every aspect of recent business (a real-time, state-of-the-union-type report). I also have frequent one-on-one calls with board members to ask for their advice on specific matters. 
  • Our board members allow us to leverage their likeness within the marketplace (one example is they are pictured on our website). We, of course, are sensitive to this point and maintain the utmost professionalism.
  • The board acts as an extension of our organization’s network and provides an ultimate point of credibility for our company.

In summary, why wouldn’t you have a board?

Carey J. Guglielmo, Jr., is president and owner of distributor AST E-Commerce in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Check out his board of directors at http://astmarketinggroup.com/our-board