Want to be on a Life Science Company Advisory Board? Then Deliver the 4 Ms

Your MD after your name won't cut it. An advisory board is designed to help the founders or management team achieve their next critical success factors, and that's why they want you to help.

Many doctors are looking for Plan B as an alternative to full-time clinical care. One option for your career portfolio is to serve on an advisory board of a life science or health technology company. Serving on an advisory board is significantly different from service on a fiduciary board, like a Board of Directors. An advisory board is designed to help the founders or management team achieve their next critical success factors, and that's why they want you to help.

To meet their expectations, you will in most instances need to deliver one of the following 4 Ms:

1) Help with MAKING something. The team wants your advice about product design and development and end user feedback from you or your colleagues in a given specialty area.

2) MARKETING. The team wants you to open doors by making introductions and creating leads, whether it be for product development or partnering or a potential customer.

3) MONEY. For startups and early stage companies, the team wants you to identify and source investors, be they physician investors, angels or angel networks, or otherwise.

4) MANAGEMENT. In this role, you provide strategic advice about where to compete and how to win. You are the eyes and ears of a company, providing business intellgence and radar to detect threats to a competitive position or industry trends that might represent opportunities for your client.

As you can see, delivering the 4 M's requires a different skill set than that required to take care of patients. You will need extensive networks, a passion for the technology, a complementary risk profile, and the ability to deliver what you promise when you agreed to serve on the board. If you don't think you can, then pass and go to Plan C.