Board Meetings And Steps To Conduct One Perfectly For A Startup
Board Meetings can easily turn out to be an endless rabbit hole for any startup. The prospect of intimidating investors breathing down your neck can send even a confident personality down the drain under worst circumstances.
However, the future of your company rests within perfect board meetings and it is imperative that one ensures the same!
Many entrepreneurs also make the mistake of placing the investor above themselves.
This is not the case by any means.
The investor is there to add value to the meeting and not to take over your position. Be demanding of your investors, do not be afraid to disagree on points every now and then.
A ‘Yes’ man system works only when you are an employee, and not when you are running a business.
A board meeting also needs not to be an unfriendly, strict, and uncomfortable space. Host it in such a way that everyone remembers that they are humans and not robots.
The new-age dynamics of the workplace also apply to high-profile board meetings. A group of relaxed and happy people to contend with is much better than people suffocating in the suits under faux professionalism.
You are a startup. Exude that energy and put forth a youthful energetic nature in place.
It is expected of you.
With that being said, here are some steps that will help you understand the process of planning and running aa successful startup board meeting.
Provide All Information Beforehand
Giving your investors all the updated information well in advance before the meeting is a no-brainer.
The idea should ideally be to give just enough information and background reading without going to the same extent as Fortune 500 companies with their SEC Filings.
This is mainly due to the fact that a continuous furnishing of investors with information can take up valuable time and energy which can be spent on growing your company!
The trick is to find that subtle balance which will ensure both parties are satisfied without an unwanted waste of time.
What should be included in this Update?
- The CEO introduction should be given the primary focus, because in most scenarios that is what people are there to hear. It should be concise and summarize the successes, the low-points, the challenges going forwards, and opportunities which are to be taken. Take time off to write a good introduction, as this will ensure the update is well received.
- The Summary of your finances comes next. Don’t beat around the bush on this one. Ensure that it is stated clearly with no confusion to any parties involved. Touch thoroughly on Revenue, Burn, and Runway. The fewer improv jokes made on this one, the better. Better yet, DON’T makes any jokes.
- Following this the summarization of Marketing, Operations, Technology, and Commercial can be stated in an order which suits the profile of your business.
- End the update with other general matters such as hires, events, and other news which has had a positive impact. Don’t brush this off as unimportant. Most investors consider hiring, customer feedback, product development, etc. are far more important than just base metrics.
Always put the future (Meeting’s Agenda) first
Literally anyone and everyone who has experience in board meetings will tell the first key point!
An agenda is a board meeting’s lifeblood!
It helps for one very important thing- It ensures that TIME is not wasted.
Most CEO’s make the mistake of going too in detail about what has happened before and try to summarize that rather than provide insights into what is going to be happening in the future.
A full-length explanation of every single detail over the course of the year is unnecessary!
The Board Triangle for conducting the perfect board meeting by Jon Callaghan is a good last-minute revision!
- Just to brush up, start off via reviewing the previous board meeting minutes. Remember to keep this as short as possible and just touch mainly on the major points and suggestions made
- Follow this by conducting a Board Pack Q&A Session which should ideally wrap up in 30 minutes
- Allocate at least an hour following this on a discussion about key strategic points. It goes without saying that you have to bring up relevant topics, and not vague unproductive ones
- Finally, go ahead with discussing other business matters. This should also be wrapped up in half an hour
So, counting everything, the board meeting should not go beyond 2 and a half hours.
Further lengthening of the meeting should only be done if there are points to discuss which are worth the time.
Do not bring up every plan of action, especially those which are better off being handled by you and your employees.
Keep the changing KPIs in mind during the meeting
The variance in KPI for a startup is one of the most common things to touch across.
Ensuring that your investors are well in touch with changing KPI’s will enable you a seamless interaction going forwards in terms of making your investors understand the jumps you take to achieve an outcome.
Be prepared for what comes ahead
The thing with relationships is that it is inevitable that people will not be on the same page at some point in time.
Use board meetings to reduce the gap which these divisions will cause via utilizing it also as a platform to build relationships and trust. What further will add to this cause is to build human relationships too.
Invite board members for a friendly informal lunch or a drink at the pub. Build something outside of work.
In the end, Board meetings can be hard, tricky, and tough to master. But how you master it will ensure your company’s growth.
In these testing times of COVID 19, board meetings are made even harder with the need of doing it over audio or video conferencing.
Don’t let the virtual presence handicap destroy the chance of having an amazing board meeting!