By Marissa Levin
“Get On Board” will be spotlighting companies that have successfully implemented advisory boards. This month, we spotlight SnapShot Interactive, a digital marketing firm, and its CEO, Mark Scrivner. Through one of its client engagements, SnapShot helped a nonprofit education organization raise more than $11.5 million in grants and donations. For a charter school, SnapShot helped generate more than $500,000 in donations. If you have a successful advisory board and would like your firm to be spotlighted in this column, please email Marissa at email@example.com. If you are looking to implement an advisory board, we would like to hear from you as well. See below for more information.
Tell us about SnapShot Interactive. How long has it been around, and how long have you been CEO?
Scrivner: SnapShot Interactive is a digital marketing firm bridging the gap between high-quality video content, animation and award-winning website design. We’ve been in business for five years, with offices in Nashville and St. Louis, and have 30 full-time employees. I founded the company with my business partner and have been CEO since inception.
What are your core service offerings, and who are your primary customers?
Scrivner: Our three main service offerings are video production, animation and web design/development. We work with many healthcare companies and educational institutions, [but] our work is not limited to these two verticals as we do lots for clients in other industries.
When did you first implement an advisory board?
Scrivner: We first implemented our advisory board in January 2013.
What prompted you to do so? Was it in response to a pain or challenge, was it in response to a growth strategy or goal, or was it a combination of the two?
Scrivner: Our business was growing at a fast pace and we felt as if it was necessary to surround ourselves with successful people that had been where we were before.
We were very deliberate in choosing our advisors and actually chose advisors we all believed would say no. Why would these individuals say yes to a company with four employees when they ran companies with hundreds or thousands of employees?
We wanted to work with people we enjoyed being around to create an extraordinary culture, expand our business across the country and ensure we had enough funding to make this all happen when/if we needed it. The first [advisor] we chose for the culture they created in their company, plus they had expanded into a couple of additional markets. The second we chose because they had expanded their company across the country into 38 markets and they were known for a great culture to boot. The third ran an angel investment firm and was an all-around great person who was highly connected and could advise us as needed on financial investments available and proper times to take advantage of these funds.
How did you recruit your advisors?
Scrivner: We met them all individually over beers to share the vision for our business and what we wanted to accomplish. We asked them expecting for them all to say “no” or “let me think about it,” and what we got was a “yes” from each.
How often do you meet? What is the format?
Scrivner: We meet once per quarter as a group and once a quarter individually. The format is over lunch, with us sharing financials, work we’re doing, advice we’re looking for and any new initiatives as a company.
What has been the single greatest benefit of your advisory board?
Scrivner: The greatest benefit we get from our board is support and accountability. They share insights that help us guide the business and accomplish initiatives much faster than we could on our own.
They’ve also referred us a lot of business. Our board accounts for about 10 percent of our top-line revenues.
What advice would you give to a CEO looking to implement a board?
Scrivner: Everyone and anyone would find benefit from having a board. Go find people that you believe would greatly help your business and are almost outside your reach. Push the limits of who you think would possibly help you or agree to be on your board and put the plan together to recruit them. If they’re the right people, you’re business will greatly benefit, and the speed at which you accomplish things will be extraordinary.
“Get On Board” will also be spotlighting companies that are looking to implement advisory boards, and will serve as an online recruiting center to connect potential advisors with these firms. If you are currently building an advisory board, please email Marissa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marissa Levin is CEO of Successful Culture, a consulting firm that helps CEOs build excellent cultures. She is the author of Built to SCALE. www.successfulculture.com. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @marissalevin. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.