FMB: Running board meetings (Part 9)

  • They have to be 1x per quarter
  • The focus is all on the numbers and updates
  • The CEO should do all the talking
  • They’re 3–4 hours
  • Materials are sent out 2–3 days in advance
  • Founder requests board members email back tactical/clarification questions BEFORE the board meeting
  • Founders or their team emails back replies to all the tactical Qs before the board meeting starts
  • The board call centers around 3 key discussion topics. The team can send pre-reading materials to the board on the discussion topics so they’re prepared. Should be key consequential decisions the leadership has been debating the last few weeks
  • There are 2 distinct sections of the board meeting: 1) General session where everyone is invited (C-suite/Heads, Observers, Board) and 2) an Closed Session only for the Board Members/Directors including founders that focuses on open assessment of talent, culture
  • C-suite or Heads of teams come in and present their area of the business to the board. This gives team members a chance to shine, takes all the preparation work off of the CEO/founders/chief of staffs, and helps the board become more familiar with team and inner workings. If you are pretty small and don’t have heads/leaders to present, you can give a company overview
  • For large boards, one non-founder investor can also gather feedback from the non-founder board members after the call about how it went, and how future board meetings could be improved
  • Keep them short and sweet. All of my startup boards range 1–2 hours (mostly two hours). Also I like to have board meetings every ~6-8 weeks for fast growing startups where every other board update is not a full metrics update (to save some prep time)
  • Send Early
  • Context Set with Metrics before and during Meeting
  • Discuss 2-3 Meaty Things
  • Let your Team Shine
  • Get Feedback
  1. Has the market changed since we last met? If so, did it affect us negatively or positively?
  2. Has the team changed? For better or worse?
  3. Has our position in the market changed?
  4. Did we do what we said we would?
  • Performance v. Forecast for all key KPIs — what did you think you were going to do, what happened, & why the delta since the last board meeting? Key KPIs probably include engagement/usage, retention, & financials
  • Financials — P&L, unit economics, cash + runway
  • Market — trends, regulatory, competition, positioning, geography
  • Org — org chart, key hires, talent topics, headcount forecast
  • Product — roadmap, customer feedback, engineering
  • GTM (Sales/Marketing) — acquisition channels, CAC, spend, pipeline

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Hard work is never overrated. Always curious.

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Mercedes Bent

Mercedes Bent

Hard work is never overrated. Always curious.

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