When it comes to giving business advice to small business owners, Trenton-based business consultant and IT guru Benny Recine doesn’t mince words: “If CEOs have a board of directors, why don’t you?” This direct piece of advice to establishing and maintaining a business will be the theme of his seminar presentation, “Forming Your Own Executive Board,” at the St. Gregory the Great Community Parish Center on Saturday, August 19, at 8:30 a.m. The talk is part of the Career Support Group monthly meeting series. The event is free and open to everyone.
Recine was born and raised in the Trenton area and worked for his family construction business for four years. “My parents were both immigrants to this country from Italy,” he says. He credits his father, who died in January at the age of 84, with ingraining him with a no-nonsense approach not only to business but to life. “My father taught me to be my own man and to always be strong and stick to your beliefs,” he says.
Recine says his mother fostered an appreciation for the importance of sound and basic money management skills. “She taught me to be disciplined and steadfast when it comes to finances,” he says. In addition to familial inspiration, Recine attributes his professional success to being outspoken and backing up those words with hard work and dead-on results. As director and project manager for Sutherland (www.sutherlandglobal.com), an international information processing organization based in Rochester, NY, Recine manages strategic initiatives such as cloud-based systems and IT software and hardware database systems. He holds an MBA from Rider University.
Recine says having a board of directors as a strategic partner is the impetus to the success of any business — a feat he has witnessed after spending more than 30 years in the corporate world. He started his corporate career in the early 1980s as a clerk at a Wall Street firm. He worked in various positions in both financial services and IT. Despite claims by some that working in the business processing industry (BPO) and outsourcing data to third-party vendors increases the risk of classified data being leaked or hacked, he says, “A reliable and dependable BPO keeps all client data secured and only clients accessible at all times.”
Recine says forming a board of directors is a mandate for businesses both small and large. He dismisses the idea that a board of directors is only for corporate behemoths and multinational organizations. “Every entrepreneur should have a board of directors,” he says. “You should have a small group of people whom you can reach out to when you make major decisions about the company.”
He adds that instituting a board “is about moving you and the business forward and having a plan of action and reviewing that plan with your board,” he says.
Mom-and-pop businesses can also benefit from insightful and cogent advice from a group of peers. Call it a “personal board.” An effective one can help business owners navigate corporate hierarchies within other businesses and entities they may want to do business with. “An entrepreneur should put as much thought into selecting a personal board as you would in choosing a corporate board,” he says.
Finally, Recine offers this advice to newbie business owners who may have already put a board of directors in place. “Make adjustments to your company based on the recommendations from the board and stick to your plan and move forward based on their input,” he concludes.
Here Recine offers small-business owners five things to consider when putting together a personal board of directors:
Have virtual board members. Have someone on your board who is remote. Whenever you are faced with a tough choice, imagine what the virtual member would say about your situation. Have board members who will provide you with valuable and immediate advice in emergency situations.
Have an odd number of board members. This eliminates the chance of a split decision. Although you are the one to make the final choice, you need clear advice before you make that decision. Recine says three people is a minimum for a personal board and for a larger board, “I would suggest having no fewer than five.”
Create a diverse board. Establish a group of people who will provide you with different and unique perspectives. If you have chosen a project management career, pick individuals who are at the top of that career and specific industry as well as individuals in the C-suite.
Invest and interact with the board. Make it a priority to meet regularly with your board members. Share facts and details with your board. Ask them for their best case and worst case scenarios regarding a situation.
Be on the lookout for new members. Look for the best people to join your board. Utilize networking events and social media to advertise your need for people to join your board.