A winning team
With a string of success stories behind her, she says the hardest part of being an entrepreneur is having more ideas than she can execute.
“I’m very curious, and I think that entrepreneurship allows for curiosity. I want to create organisations and I want to make a big difference in the world.”
“And the thing I’ve learnt is that that’s not an individual sport - it has to be done with a team and a coach. For me, a board increases my odds of achieving what I want to achieve because I’m getting a better team.”
Having worked with boards in many of her ventures, Melissa says she’d never start another business without one.
“Often entrepreneurs resist getting a board, because they think they’re going to get a boss. But a good director works alongside an entrepreneur to get their dreams done faster.”
Melissa points out that a board has experience, knowledge and networks that will bolster a fledgling business. A strong advocate for handpicking your board, she says it’s crucial to find directors who share your vision and values.
“That’s your home team, so do make sure that the values of the board are in alignment with the values of the company or the entrepreneur. There are enough talented, experienced board members out there who care - hold out for them.”
She’s speaking from experience, having worked with such directors in her most recent ventures. She describes her last board as a “rockstar board’ - a trio of directors who encouraged open and robust discussion of ideas, ensured she was rigorous around reporting, and helped to raise capital.
She says that as an extension of the CEO’s team, a good board is there to help the founder build their dream.
“The board should be there to support you - and sometimes that’s telling you when you’re being an idiot, and sometimes it’s buoying you up when things are tough. Mostly, it’s just walking alongside you while you go on that journey.”