Want to challenge yourself as a leader?

If you've had a senior role within a corporate or SME then you’ll have experienced the ups and downs of leadership.

At Be the Business, an independent charity, we're helping British companies tackle a particular challenge – improving leadership to become more productive.

Are you ready to share your experience and learnings with other business leaders who need your help?

If you are then we can offer you a highly rewarding, intellectually stimulating and enjoyable challenge. Be the Business brings small groups of senior leaders together online to add external ideas and perspectives to the thinking of ambitious small and medium-sized businesses. These advisory boards provide the kind of impartial, grounded and differentiated support that smaller company leaders really need.

Be the Businesses has helped generate more than £500m in productivity improvements for British companies. A big part of making that happen is unlocking the expertise held by people just like you. So what are you waiting for?

Ready to become a volunteer already?

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Become a volunteer

Why our volunteers get involved

“My board offers such a broad range of experience from people who put me on the fast track to develop and grow my company. Running a business can be a lonely place, but this gives me access to people who help make good plans even better.”

Chris Smith, Pendle Engineering – SME board participant

The key questions you might have

Our advisory boards are a unique support offering for small and medium-sized business leaders. Small groups of volunteers form a confidential, impartial advisory board to support and encourage the thinking of business owners taking part in the programme. Past participants have found, time and time again, that becoming part of a board helps them build out their leadership, influencing and overall business skillsets.

Each board will discuss the goals and challenges that the business leader brings to them, providing constructive questions to unlock thinking and making suggestions for avenues to explore. Goals or challenges will be unique to each business, but could involve things such as:

  1. Ensuring clarity on strategic direction
  2. Working through the implications of new plans,
    ideas or improvements
  3. Helping the business leader execute plans for
    sustainable growth
  4. Suggesting structures to improve accountability

The advisory board does not have any legal obligations or responsibilities.

Enhance your non-exec style board skills

We’ll match you with three other experienced leaders, each with different specialisms and backgrounds. Together you'll form an advisory board.

Build experience in chairing a board

Each board member takes turns to chair board meetings – giving you the opportunity to experience other people’s style of chairing as well as chairing yourself.

Hone your mentoring skills

In addition to the skills developed in your role as a board member, some volunteers may be nominated to work with the business leaders in hour-long 1:1 sessions.

Leave us to sort the admin

We'll match businesses to boards, ensuring there are no conflicts of interest. We then assign a board administrator to handle all administrative tasks.

Just 12 hours across a year

Each small business that takes part in the programme benefits from four 90 minute online meetings with their assigned board, over a six month period. Once your initial business has completed, we will assign your board a new business for the next six months.

Be open to new challenges

The businesses on our programme come from all different sectors, sizes and stages. You may not know anything about a particular kind of business, but leadership expertise is highly transferable.

Maintain confidentiality

Confidentiality is critical as business leaders will share information that helps you understand their business. As board members you may choose to do the same.

Optional mentoring

If you express interest in being a mentor, you may also provide two separate 60-minute online mentoring sessions in months when there is no other meeting scheduled.

  • A huge range of people, all with a minimum of 5 years senior leadership experience ​
  • They come from leading corporates, successful small businesses, the third sector, local government, retirees…​
  • The major motivations are helping others, developing skills, enhancing CVs and taking on an interesting challenge

  • Businesses from all sectors, sizes and stages with a minimum of 3 employees​
  • The decision maker must be the main participant, but other leadership team members can be invited too​
  • Leading a business is lonely, and it’s hard to know if you are making the right calls.  Inviting insight and challenge from others can help you build up your own skills and confidence in decisions

Meetings are scheduled at regular times and well in advance. We know life happens, so just let us know if you can’t attend.  If you are likely to miss more than one meeting, we will look to move you to a different board at a more suitable time. ​

  • If you are UK based and have 5+ years of senior leadership experience this is for you
  • You will attend an online onboarding call with other volunteers. We will talk through how the programme works and what’s expected of you in more detail, answering any questions you have
  • Register your interest at the bottom of this page

What tends to happen, which is great to see, is that even when the board members come in from all these different angles, directions and sectors, you start to see the conversation coalesce into a single piece of advice. It is really powerful.”

Pete Boddy, head of engineering, Air Systems, BAE Systems – board member

Case Study.

Don't just take it from us...listen to one of our volunteers

Case Study.

Discover why it was described as "an incredible multifaceted learning experience"

Become a volunteer

Are you ready to help an SME and build out your own leadership skills?
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