A few weeks Before, I wrote a piece on TechCrunch about how to run a successful board meeting. Since then, I’ve been asked one question over and over again: What does a good board update really look like?
It’s a perfectly reasonable question. In the early days of a startup, most founders have very little data to work with. Setting up a productive and actionable dashboard can be very difficult if you don’t have any customer or product information to plug the update into.
It is important to balance two key areas: providing a business valuation and building trust with board members.
Establish the foundations
Although it may seem difficult, the easiest way to make sure that board members are giving you the information you want to see is to ask them.
Meeting with your board not only provides a sense of direction, but also gives you an opportunity to build your relationship. People appreciate the opportunity to be rated.
Remember that investors are always examining you as a leader, learning how to work with you and looking for strengths and weaknesses.
Many board members are also investors, so be bold and ask if they have concerns about making the investment, what those concerns are and how they can be addressed now that the relationship is public.
Do your own research as well. Find out who your board members are and what other boards they have served on. What companies do you work with? What is their name? Their experience with other companies will influence what they expect from your company. If an investor is new to your board but has been around for another couple of years, find a way to get a sense of how they work.
Also, don’t hesitate to connect with other founders about what works for them. Talk to people in your network to see what they’re doing, what’s resonating with their board, how their investors are reacting, and what their board makeup looks like.
Building an investor deck is (or at least, should be) a heavy lift. Remember that you will be doing this continuously, so you need to set it up carefully to produce quality content.