5 Ways to Run an Effective Investor Board Meeting

November 17, 2016

8:30 pm

Your startup has grown and you need the capital to grow with it. You’ve raised a seed round and now have a formal board of investors and mentors to answer to each quarter. And while a boarding meeting can be a scary place, making sure its effective can go a long way in helping you get what you want.

For CEOs, running an effective investor board meeting means tapping into the knowledge at the seats and finding successful pathways to the next level.  What boards members don’t want to do is waste their time and sit through a power point presentation, when they could have just as easily received an email. Here are some ways to run a smooth board meeting and gain some action items along the way.

Send Materials in Advance

To prepare the board and get them thinking about questions to ask, send the materials in advance and give the investor board 15 minutes to review the materials before you start the meeting. This allows them to get on the same page and quickly review the material.

Conduct a Quick Q&A

Have board members ask clarifying questions about the materials. Keep the answers and discussion short and table the longer questions for later. Most questions will likely be focused on KPIs and financials so plan to dive into to the financials a bit later.

Ask for Advice for Next Steps

For the CEO, the investor board meeting is the perfect time to engage the board and lean on their experience. Questions can range from go to market strategy and financial planning to company culture and hiring practices.

Whatever it is, the topic is part of the agenda and CEO engages the board deeply around it. This sort of focused discussion feels productive, helpful to the CEO and satisfying to board members.

Show Them the Money

When it’s time to talk financials, frame the review in terms of deviations. Don’t make the review too open ended, or it is going to take up a chunk of time. Start by reviewing with the board about previous projections and where the company is in comparison to the projections. It’s important to explain why you are behind or ahead of the plan, particularly around the burn.

Discuss New Hires

Every company, no matter how young, is always focused on hires. Whether it’s engineers, marketers or any other role, it is important to create ongoing dialog with the board about hiring. Boards can be helpful, particularly when it comes to more senior hires, because the directors have experience and can tap into their network.

Remember to get feedback from the board on what is working and what doesn’t and keep iterating until you get to a productive and helpful format that works for you.

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Alex Iskold is the managing director of Techstars in New York City. Serial entrepreneur, founder of Information Laboratory and GetGlue. Engineer, geek, complex systems addict, lover of art and wine. Invest and help tech startups. He actively blogs about startups and venture capital at http://alexiskold.net.

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