What Investors Expect: Quarterly Board Meetings
Before the Quarterly Board Meeting:
What most entrepreneurs don’t know is that some of the most important steps you can take to ensure a successful board meeting come days before the meeting begins. For example, you should be sending out a board book 3+ days in advance. This will give your investors enough time to review the material you will be presenting at the board meeting.
What to include in your Quarterly Board Book:
- Agenda: Quarterly Board Meetings have to be organized. This one page document should outline the topics to be addressed during the meeting.
- Minutes From Previous Board Meeting: This concise document should outline the main topics from the minutes of the previous board meeting as a reminder of goals, discussions, and takeaways. You should make it a point to cover which goals have been met, and which ones remain outstanding.
- Financials: This should show Profit/Loss Statement, Balance Sheet, Budget vs. Actual, Cash Flow, AP/AR, and the Cash Runway.
- KPI’s: Your investors Key Metrics will be sector and business model specific and should at a minimum cover the primary revenue drivers for your company. Be sure to include qualitative analysis to go with these and be prepared to speak to any trends or changes.
- Quarterly Goals: Present new goals, and review progress on goals from past meetings.
What NOT to include:
- Unimportant or Useless metrics: Don’t spend time confusing your investors and board members with unimportant information. You also don’t want to them to lose confidence in your ability to understand and grow the company.
- Data meant to obscure your company’s shortcomings: In the long run you aren’t doing yourself or your investors any favors. If your company is struggling, your investors will be some of your best resources for turning it around.
During the Meeting:
- Run An Efficient Meeting: Everyone in the room is incredibly busy, and it’s incredibly challenging to get the group together. You’ll already have a full slate to cover, so falling behind or getting lost on less important details can risk not accomplishing your goals. A strong agenda and well-prepared presentation will assist you, while poor preparation can derail you. The Board can also take a lack of structure or loss of control of the meeting as an indication of how you run your business.
- Keep Record of Important Questions: Ensure that minutes from the meeting are being taken, and take note of any key comments or questions made by your board. By the end of the meeting you should have a better idea of what matters to your investors and what questions you can send emails to follow up on. Minutes should be sent out following the meeting with each Board Member acknowledging receipt and accuracy.
- Make Your Asks: You should come into your meeting with 1-3 important asks for your board and investors, as you didn’t just bring these folks into the business just for their money. These questions and support should be vital to continued success, whether it’s tapping into your investors network for leads to potential hires or business development contacts or for addressing pain points inhibiting growth.
- Come Away With Actionable Items: After discussing any changes you want to make, have a list of actionable items, so that your board knows that you took their suggestions and have additional goals.
- Operating Model: We highly recommend that you leverage a robust Operating Model, allowing for a deeper understanding of your business drivers leading to more accurate forecasting. This will set growth expectations with your Board, and having an incorrect model will risk your trust and relationship with them. Mistakes here can cost founders and executives their job. If you do not have the in-house expertise to build and update the model, you can find a high quality consulting firms to supplement your team.
- Your model needs to be updated monthly, with actual financials inputted.
- Review key assumptions to ensure accuracy based on the most recent performance trends and current business goals.