You’ve raised finances and ritual has all started. This manner monthly or quarterly meetings with your Board and your newly appointed individuals from traders. As according to their data rights, they want updates from you. Darn. Another factor to do! To help you, I’ve put together a Board deck template to lighten the burden of accomplishing a Board Meeting.
Why do you want a Board deck?
Starting up is difficult and also you don’t constantly have the solutions. Fortunately, a very good Board is at hand to invite the hard questions, provide a sounding Board as nicely with any luck precious perception.
As an early stage startup, you’re in all likelihood going to have conferences with the Board monthly, so there may be no hiding. It’s predicted that you may put together fabric beforehand.
I’m not going to jot down a load of dull stuff approximately what a Board assembly is, why you need them and many others. (People like Steve Blank cover these things too numerous levels). So, take my word you’ll have Board meetings… and that having a pleasant template to kick matters off will be accessible! Let’s get into the pragmatic stuff
General Advice For Board Material
Don’t spend too much time making the entirety perfect unless you are a public agency with one thousand teams of workers. You need to build your startup. Oli Samwer freaks out at MDs if the slides are quite. Use my template and everything will appearance first rate and dependent.
Slides need to be easy and use bullet points. They are talking factors – this isn’t an essay. The assembly is for discussion.
It’s ideal to continually use a constant structure for each meeting so human beings understand what’s coming. Only exchange it whilst you attain an extraordinary point of your enterprise that warrants it, along with transferring from attempting to find product-marketplace fit to scale.
Targets and deliverables need to be particular and someone has to be answerable for turning in every account point.
Don’t use jargon till everybody understands it.
Make it virtually clear how the Board can assist. Ask mainly and directly! Don’t ask for recruiting assist, ask for a specific role and ideally have a JD to hand.
You want to ‘document’ records, but sincerely useful meetings are forward focussed on what you need to do. This is in which your future is, greater treasured than the day before!
Best Practice Before A Board Meeting
Send the deck 3/4 days in advance, at minimum 24 hours and inform the Board to be prepared. If administrators have remarked, replace your deck with their feedback. Make the assembly and cloth dynamic, in place of merely one course. Including difficult questions to be discussed enables administrators to ruminate over them and are available to assembly prepared with insight. If you’ve got all your financials and KPIs included you don’t want to run through numbers line by way of line which offers you time for value-add activities
Schedule the assembly every week in advance at minimal. Ensure it’s far in every body’s calendar. Send a habitual calendar invite and take a look at humans receive your invite
Ensure everyone is agreement on the frequency and period of conferences. Once a month is really useful for early businesses. For later degree corporations meetings may be quarterly. The meetings have to be 2-three hours long. As Brad Feld says “I assume hours is simply too short. But greater than three hours of severe discussion will turn most brains to mush. So, you may go on too long either.”
If you need to speak about something debatable, talk this with every Board member first before the meeting. You don’t need to surprise all and sundry on a name. No one likes surprises. There is a cause that McKinsey shows are rubber stamp conferences. Everyone knows what they’re going to mention
Think significantly approximately the timetable and your elected “recognition consultation.” Whenever the Board Meeting runs over time, it’s far you, the CEOs fault. If you introduce too much statistics and speaking points, nothing will genuinely get completed and all people walks away feeling like nothing is resolved
Best Practice Running A Board Meeting
Don’t stand in the front of every person like you’re supplying. Sit at the desk subsequent to everyone else. The Board is there to help you, so don’t stage the scenario which you are on display and they are there to judge you. Standing doesn’t position you in control, it places you on the shielding.
Make positive everybody is prepared. If a director is unprepared on the assembly, pause on the begin and deliver them 10 mins to read the replace with the intention to be a better function to make contributions. But it’s miles well worth being cognizant that the most incriminatory thing that may take place to a Board member is realizing that all of their peers organized for the assembly and that they didn’t…
Assuming all and sundry is prepared, you may ask if anyone knows the template stuff like financials, so you don’t need to spend time on them. If there are any points humans want to talk about, you may think them in when allocating time to each subject matter. You don’t have to spend time on each slide, so you don’t should act like you do. So, for your alternative presents, in case you are glad about the allocation simply ask “everyone have a problem with the provider? No, adequate, allow’s just approve it then.” Same is going for financials and KPIs.
Immediately rent a Secretary who takes notes. Ideally, you should have a template to fill out to make things less difficult. The Secretary should flow into the notes and they must be agreed at the subsequent assembly.
Save all of the notes in a folder– you will need to provide them to buyers for the duration of due diligence at your subsequent fundraiser. Also, even as you are at it, keep each Board deck so that you can without difficulty offer them too.
Get awful information out of the manner first. Pull the band-aid off. Neither the Board nor you want to attend in suspense for horrific information to drop.
It’s ok to be inclined and say when you need to assist. The Board is there to help and probably is aware of these points already. Trying to cool your weaknesses is dangerous and could result in you getting a ‘marketing consultant function’ of your personal corporation. The best CEOs commenced knowing not anything, however, they learned speedy.
Tell the Board in advance in your CEO introduction what the principle component you want out of the assembly and how the Board can help. That manner you could make sure it gets addressed. It doesn’t need to be the primary factor you speak, however, make it known.
Don’t study the deck like a classroom presentation to the magnificence. Assume you are speaking to vivid people which could 1/ read quicker than you could speak and 2/ are geared up to offer insight. What’s the point scheduling an assembly with ~5 people to concentrate to a deck they could examine on their very own time table? The assembly is for discussion.
Board meetings have to have shape, but no longer too much to stifle conversation. It’s ok to allow conversations to deviate from the agreed upon shape where it is warranted. Your Board conferences are about attacking difficult topics, now not completing on time or following your shape.
You can decide what you want to talk about. If individuals carry up subjects that you don’t need to speak approximately inclusive of doing an hour-long evaluate of cohorts or your touchdown page, it’s ok to take manipulate and say outright that you don’t need to apply the Board time on that. You can offer to invite them to come to the workplace and take a seat with the advertising and marketing team and speak product advertising and marketing and so on.
Bring your key execs to the assembly/name if you are having a focal point session. Your VP of income can speak pipeline, CTO the technical trends, and CFO the cash state of affairs. It additionally gives your management crew the possibility to shine and encourages them to be properly organized. Talking to the Board is formidable to each person, so leverage it. It also indicates transparency and you are happy to give them credit score.
Be frank and explicitly talk about elephants within the room. If you don’t bring them up with the Board, accept as true with they’ll discuss them when you aren’t there
For tremendously controversial subjects, it can be advisable to have your attorney attend. They may not charge as they get face time with your traders (quality, way to hustle ;)).
In individual meetings are exceptional if you could. It’s smooth to play together with your telephone while nobody is watching… Where logistics are tough, organize two calls according to the area and one in person meeting.
If you are going to talk about topics which include facts points you used before, include them on your deck. Some investors are plenty of Boards and it’s a waste of time to make people search their electronic mail to find the cloth you would possibly reference. Make it clean for people to be ‘on the ball’ and simply focus on the venture handy.
Try to get the formalities out of the manner first. This is how my template is dependent. Yes, you want to get through ‘approvals’ but they don’t flow the needle. Once the dull stuff is completed you don’t have to strain if a discussion takes lifestyles of its very own, and the ESOP allocation you promised team of workers doesn’t get accepted.
Best Practice After A Board Meeting
There have to be no open topics and ambiguity approximately who is chargeable for executing on them. If there are they ought to be mechanically being brought to the subsequent assembly’s schedule (that is an action, according to me).
If a director stated they may do something, expect them to do it. Follow up and make certain it takes place. Add it to the next Board assembly and keep them accountable! You’ll locate people will make certain they don’t get called out.
Dinner or liquids after evening conferences are encouraged. The nature of conversations also can be one-of-a-kind. Nirav Tolia, CEO of Nextdoor recommends you do dinner or lunch earlier than the Board assembly and include some of your VPs. This will allow you to maintain the real Board assembly on time, and allow the Board the possibility to get to know key people out of doors the high-strain surroundings of the meeting itself. You can alternative relying on availability with simply one Board member
Offer the Board members an ‘govt consultation’ on the give up of the assembly. This is a Board meeting with out the CEO within the room/call where they speak the meeting and the key takeaways. It’s an opportunity to frequently get feedback (“How am I doing?”) approximately your performance, approach, the team and general overall performance. This is first-rate as you don’t need a shock whilst you go to traders requesting a seasoned-rata and they ‘marvel’ you pronouncing they don’t want to… It may additionally run 5 mins or an hour, now not that you care, but FYI. The Board may also have plenty or little or no to speak about. Don’t head into an assembly, stick round in case the Board needs your lower back. The Board ex-CEO might also invite you returned for a debriefing. An alternative is that the Chairman of the Board can call and do a debrief.
Solicit comments from person Board individuals outside of the conferences. Call each separately for 30 to forty-five mins in advance if the want is so you recognize how they’re going to vote, what they think about the schedule, and bust any potential troubles or surprises. As Albert Wenger, Union Square Ventures says “Some human beings are oddly quiet in group conferences. Don’t anticipate meaning they’re in agreement with the whole thing this is said.”
The Agenda For Your First Board Meeting After A Fundraise
Congrats (or not) on closing your fundraising spherical! You want first of all your satisfactory foot forward and that means setting things up nicely. David Teten at FF Venture Capital recommends the following schedule factors to get every body on the identical page:
Decide who is Secretary (usually same person at each meeting).
Determine how to cope with governance education for all individuals.
Verify appropriate accounting approaches in location.
Establish thresholds for Board approval of movements (e.G., conflicts of the hobby, contracts aside from everyday operations).
Designate Audit Committee and Compensation Committee (or simply people with those roles).
Discuss profile of additional Board contributors (if any).
Determine frequency and agenda future Board meetings (such as annual CEO overall performance overview and mutual Board member assessment twelve months from now). Recommend monthly at first.
Discuss how information for Board may be shared and discussed, and which era platform if any to use.
Review management’s recommendation for KPIs and formal milestones.
Review draft finances (via second meeting at the trendy date).
Some of this may be completely over your head, that’s cool. At least you know what needs to get done. Discuss together with your lead investor and get their entries in ensuring everything is completed right. They may be thrilled you took the initiative and will reflect maturity in your element.
Approach To This Template
I wanted to make a Board deck template for my very own founders and this is it. There are some decent ones on line, however, I didn’t suppose they clearly proper early degree agencies and they may be a touch greater like a way to courses than right here you pass, use it and get lower back to paintings (which I like).
The pleasant guides are from Sequoia and NextView. I’ve ripped off all their insight. I’ve also trawled the net for all the pearls of awareness I may want to find and integrated them too (Like having a slide up front with the important thing intention of the meeting). So, this represents the country of the artwork in my humble opinion.
Note – every business is different! You are going to ought to refactor some slides in order that they fit you. Every slide in the ‘calibration’ segment needs to be redone for your KPIs. I’ve set matters out quite to give you the notion, however, it’s simple idea. Keep things easy and attempt to display your actuals vs plan as much as you may. Your traders want to recognize in case you are heading in the right direction or not.
Note: If you’re a SaaS enterprise, there are a few excellent metrics slides on this template deck to get an idea from.
The Template Board Deck Slides
Thought has long gone into the order and content in the Board deck template. Let’s go through every slide now so you recognize them and the idea behind them.
Section 1: Intro
This unit the scene for the assembly and ensures everyone concurs with the schedule.
Slide 1: Title
Add your emblem and change the date. Simple.
Slide 2: Agenda / time allocation
The format is continually the identical so buyers recognize what is coming.
The best component that modifications in phrases of content are your ‘awareness classes.’ Think seriously approximately what they’re and input a short header for the topic.
Month to month, you may change the time allocation, depending on what wishes to be included and remarks to procure before the meeting.
Slide 3: Key intention of the meeting
Best practice is making sure one massive topic is covered. This slide explicitly states 1/ what’s keeping you up at night time, and a couple of/ how your Board can mainly assist.
Put a few effort into writing it and do some ground work. Don’t write “Finance wishes to be higher!” Write “I need a CFO” and add specifics.
Section 2: Approvals
Making sure all the decisions get executed before the assembly gets into the swing of things.
Slide 5: Approvals wished
It’s high-quality to get the hygiene out of the manner so that you can get into the meat. Just get it finished earlier than something else.
Under ‘Approval’ write the principle factor. Under word, write the approval especially had to be made. In the meeting simply say “Do we approve the meeting minutes? Vote. Passed. Next. Do we approve the month-to-month price range? Mary, I recognize you had a difficulty approximately some prices? Ok cool, allow’s keep as proposed. Vote. Ok, passed.”
Slide 6: Budget
Have your month-to-month budget in here to your layout as you trust the Board. You do no longer want to discuss it. But as above, if someone desires to take a look at it before approval, it’s there and ready so no one is seeking out it.
Section three: Commitments
What human beings said they would do and did or did not. This is for both you the founder and your Board individuals.
Slide 7: CEO Commitments
You do no longer have this slide. For early-stage companies in which the Board is hands-on, guiding the CEO, I want to have virtually clean accountability. Startups are so below resourced and there is a lot to do it makes for good relationships if the CEO/crew does precisely what they said between each assembly. This builds trust. Over time you may take away it in case you are against it. However, I think it’s actually useful because it helps you to have the next slide…
Note I say ‘CEO Commitments.’ The implication is the CEO is answerable for the team delivering. If there may be some other founder on the Board you may trade that so two humans are responsible, however, make it clean who has to do things and did it (or no longer).
Slide 9: Board Commitments
The CEO has to file on his monthly commitments, so why now not ask the equal of the Board.
The Board is there to work for you no longer just judge you and your terrible t-blouse choices. During each assembly, you must kingdom especially what assist you to need after which dole out duties for your Board to do! The first-rate areas your Board can assist with is in intros and assist recruitment. So as above, write the subject, what they stated they needed to do and did or did no longer do it.
Section 4: Big Picture
Time in your massive shot CEO to shine and cowl updates of what is going well and what is not, in addition to any comments on how the industry is evolving. Your Board does not understand what you realize, so percentage succinctly the key matters they need to be privy to. If you put together properly earlier than a hand, you could deliver this in short and elicit insight out of your Board to get an angle. So, don’t stay on degree long. Treat it like stand-up comedy – deliver your lines and then get tremendous or bad feedback fast. If there isn’t a lot to reply to, circulate on.
Slide 11: CEO Summary – Highlights
The subjects had been selected to cover all the main regions. Change them depending on your business. Change the next slide structure too, then
This is what is going nicely. Celebrate your small wins!
Fill within the subject matter and then the key takeaway. Be certain to feature regions where you need assist including to the fireplace that will help you double down on these wins. An example is getting someone to name and pitch an ability rent to shut them. Remember to add it to next month’s commitments!
Slide 12: CEO Summary – Lowlights
This is the same as the highlights, except they suck greater. Be honest and open – don’t disguise the bad. You want your buyers to hold investment you, or setting a great word to the subsequent bunch to do your Series A.
Just a little be aware, note I placed the names of people in brackets. I suppose it’s excellent to offer credit score to who fixes things as it’s illustrative of a cohesive team
Slide 13: Industry comments
You have to recognize the whole thing approximately your enterprise. Share something exceptional with traders. They might faux like they recognize, but they actually don’t (They exercise looking clever).
Comment anything material in terms of competition, positive and poor tendencies in addition to customer comments.
If your Board is new, that is useful that allows you to build credibility (that you understand what goes on).
Section 5: Calibration
In this section, I attempted to apply an AARRR metrics technique to head pinnacle of funnel down. Depending for your enterprise you can need to trade this entire section. It, in reality, depends on your enterprise version. You want to cowl KPIs, financials, plan vs actuals and something unique to you including NPS. If you’re the business enterprise, perhaps speak approximately income cycles?
Slide 15: Financial reputation
This is set speaking your runway, sales and growth metrics. This easy grid is a pleasing manner to reveal all of the key matters very briefly like taking a temperature
Change the KPI depending on your commercial enterprise model.
Slide Sixteen: Acquisition – leads
This is your pinnacle of the funnel. VCs care approximately your increase and go to the marketplace. You don’t develop if your marketing sucks, so get into it.
I set out your key channels for customers then gift this month’s plan and your performance, then the % of success.
I would do that very otherwise if I had your data, relies upon on you.
Slide 17: Conversion
How are you converting your leads/visitors? This comes right down to your on-website optimization, income team and so on. Depending on the facts you’ve got, restructure this so it fits you. Maybe you could simply copy paste a file a person in marketing sends you.
Slide 18: Retention
This subjects extra for SaaS. If you’re e-commerce, possibly change it to ‘referrals’ or similar. What you need to do is display you attract, keep and monetize (and get referrals) from customers
Slide 19: Engagement
Do clients like your carrier? Do they use it plenty? The sign of any top enterprise is that they do!
Slide 20: Activity
What’s happening with the web page? If you’re a marketplace then liquidity topics, proper? What metrics show that?
Slide 21: Performance vs plan
Show on your KPIs the fashion in your plan vs your performance. Your Board honestly cares which you are on the right track. Depending on your records you may show a longer buying and selling records, you may also display your projections and the way they compare against your deliberate forecasts.
Section 6: Company Building
This section details the nuts and bolts of the way you’re executing. Sequoia has a nice write up of what they want to peer in this phase but it’s extra for later degree organizations- the template maintains it fairly simple and orientated for in advance degree corporations.
Slide 23: Organisation Chart
What does the org chart appear to be, has it modified for higher or worse and who do you want to lease?
The RHS units out who you are hiring for and a request for help in locating these humans. VCs talk to quite a few people so if they understand who you need they could bear you in thoughts
Slide 24: Compensation and hires
This slide relies upon a little on how many workforces there are. The Early stage you don’t have many so this suits. The slide units out who and what kind of they’re paid; how a good deal they’re paid and equity preserving. Add human beings you are hiring and what you propose on paying them so the Board can give their input. The start date allows them to realize while they’re approaching Board.
Slide 25: Product roadmap and timeline
Your product is key for your fulfillment so the Board desires to recognize the roadmap. Everyone does this otherwise, so paste an output of something you’re the use of operational, however simply make certain it’s miles high stage and doesn’t have the erroneous element.
This can take a time to make so make certain it’s far some thing you are the usage of for different purposes and might do without problems. Ideally, dedicate it to someone in product/tech.
Slide 26: Technical Core Initiatives
Don’t position the Board to sleep, but set out clearly what you’re doing on the tech side. Map out the important thing tasks after which in short show the repute, and perhaps time limits as well as responsibility. Discussion may be round priorities, bottlenecks and the materiality of your awareness. You do no longer need to get into an esoteric debate on AWS; this isn’t always what the Board assembly is set.
Slide 27: Customer Pipeline
This is greater essential for SaaS and enterprise organizations where you have got an income feature. Replace with something client associated if you have a different business version.
This example slide units out who you are pitching and your reputation with every, as well as the materiality.
Slide 28: NPS and Customer Feedback
Everyone must be monitoring customer enjoy best in some form. For e-commerce, there may be an easy NPS from an exit poll. Google has a seek first-rate rating and so on.
Show your NPS or similar and upload direct charges from customers. You ought to sincerely be talking in your customers. Having this slide will encourage you to report remarks. It’s also top notch to proportion the comments with the team of workers, effective and bad.
Section 7: Focus Session
Now you have got were given thru all of the updates, the focus periods are the actual cost of Board conferences. Pick 2, no extra than three, ‘warm topics’ you really want to dig into. Set out the subject and some key mind for dialogue factors. Again, ask for how the Board can help.
Depending on the subject, you could add some of assisting slides. For instance, if the focus session is on a massive enterprise development deal, you would possibly upload a timeline of verbal exchange, paste display pictures of conversations and many others. The fabric ought to help discourse, now not detract from it.
I haven’t set out template slides as it will rely so much on the subject, and if it matters to you, you will realize what you need to feature!
Conclusion On How To Conduct A Board Meeting
There we’ve it.
Here are your subsequent steps:
Download the Board deck template now!
Add your brand on the primary web page.
Go through each slide (studying my manual notes above) and restructure the deck, exchange the points and so on., in particular within the calibration phase.
When you’re glad about it, send it to your Chairman of the Board, or your lead investor Partner and ask for remarks. Incorporate the feedback.
Circulate to the rest of the Board. Tell them you worked with the Chairman on it and need feedback and purchase into the layout