As a fledgling corporation, you may worry about the cost of a board of directors. Many smaller businesses operate what is called an “inside” board. An “inside board” usually is made up of friends, acquaintances, and other people within your network that you trust.

If you belong to a Chamber of Commerce or other association, and have a decent business network, you can often find the source of your board of directors there.

If you can’t afford to pay them, let them know upfront. Many positions on even larger boards of directors are attractive to business people as a title of honor or rank, and they’re quite happy to hold that title and have a free lunch with your board members once a month. (And, of course, add that title to their list of credentials on paper.)

If you can afford to pay a stipend or salary, an “outside board” might be right for you. An “outside board” is based on the talents and skills your members bring to the table.

Think of them as your corporation’s personal think tank. The talent that is brought to the table can be indispensable when making decisions on investing, applying for venture capital, and other large monetary decisions.