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Board Meetings

June 11, 2008


It is pretty standard for early stage venture backed startups to have monthly board meetings, and I (generally) think this is a really good thing.

It is pretty common, though, for entrepreneurs to object to this practice, fearing that they will spend as much time prepping for board meetings as building their company.

This is based on what I think is a misconception of the role and nature of board meetings for startups, and/or poor construction of the Board.

I have asked a number of experienced successful entrepreneurs how long they spend “prepping” for board meetings. The answer is pretty consistently about an hour. They view board meetings as working sessions and typically expect (even want??) To have them monthly.

Others feel a need to do a ton of prep for board meetings. In my view, this reflects either a need to “message” to the board, which is always a bad sign; needing time to craft an effective presentation because the board doesn’t really understand the business; or needing time to figure out what to present to the board because management doesn’t understand the business.

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  1. June 11, 2008

    “Messaging” is indeed what sucks up a lot of time, and had the very unfortunate potential side effect of also robbing the board of the opportunity to input into the company.

    Why not have 1-3 topics for discussion for a board meeting, with a few minutes of contextual set-up, and a few key contributors identified to guide the conversation?

    I have to wonder if boards aren’t too rigidly viewed as “governing” bodies rather than insightful advisors.

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