Founders who succesfully start a business and raise funding soon find they have board meetings to prepare for.
What do you need to include?
There's no absolute right and wrong answer to this, but at a high level there following topics need to be covered;
- Business performance overview and CEO commentary
- Strategic direction
- Board administrative issues
Typically you'd have the following documents;
- Minutes from previous meeting (to be approved)
- Business update
- trading performance
- market conditions / competitor news
- progress with key initiatives
- team news
- product roadmap
- Accounts and KPIs
- Board papers on any special topics for discussion
It's a good idea to sit down with the chairman (or a non-Exec Director if you don't have a chairman) the week before to plan the board agenda.
Get your board pack out at least 3 days before the board. This will give your board a chance to read the material prior to the meeting.
As CEO you need to show confidence and thoughtful critique of company progress. If you are overly confident and brush problems under the carpet you will lose trust. If you fail to address challenges head on, you will lose support. As you
comment on the progress of the business you need to maintain your vision and belief and constructively address how you will overcome difficulties.
In your material, don't just provide numbers. If you show graphs, provide commentary and context. "What does this mean?" should be your mantra.
Be careful not to overload the board with a level of detail that they do not need to be concerned with.
Finally, ask for feedback on the board pack. Iterate the board material accordingly and keep improving the content to help your board.