Ideally your board is one of your company’s main allies – its primary responsibility is to ensure your company’s success. Though every board is different, some best practices and guidelines are common across industries and sizes.
The guidelines below are a collection of best practices we found in our portfolio. Always discuss with your Board Members the preferred format of the meeting.
Board Meeting Structure
- Big Picture
- CEO Update
- Highlights since last meeting
- Lowlights / challenges since last meeting
- Completing and pending action points from last Board Meeting
- Company quarterly updates
- KPI performance
- Financials & funding needs
- Sales pipeline
- Organisation updates (partnerships, R&D, HR, etc.)
- Next quarter strategy – the big opportunity
- Upcoming relevant issues
- Next targets and how to reach them
- New action points for next Board Meeting
- Working session
- Deep dive or two in a particular function area, business challenge, etc.
Board Meeting Tips
- Share the material with the Board Members at least five days prior to the meeting.
- Start on time and go through the agenda efficiently. Invite key employees to present their areas or plans.
- Highlight the recent past but focus on the future. The goal is to outline the strategy for the coming months to reach the company’s vision.
- It’s critical to review people (churn, key players, succession plans, compensation vs market, CEO performance) at least once a year, risks and mitigation actions at least twice a year, and full strategy at least once per year.
- Have someone taking notes and preparing minutes for the board.
- At the end of the meeting outline the conclusions, key takeaways, and action points for the next Board Meeting and make sure they are shared by the Board Members.
- Don’t be a stranger. The Board Meeting is not the only time to talk with us. We are here to help the entrepreneur throughout the month, not only an afternoon meeting.
Building Your Board
- Startup Boards Reading List, Kauffman Fellows
- Who Should Be On Your Board, by Mark Suster.
- 5 Huge Mistakes Startups Make When Choosing Board Members, by VentureBeat.
- 8 Steps to Building a Strong Board of Directors, by Nokia Growth Partners.
Engaging Your Board
- Mark Suster put together an excellent blog series on how best to engage start-up boards.
- The Secret to Making Board Meetings Suck Less, by First Round Capital.
- Preparing a Board Deck, by Sequoia.
- 6 Ways Great Companies Use Board Decks to Their Advantages, by Union Square Ventures.