Are you preparing to host a startup board meeting? If so, you’ve stumbled upon the perfect resource. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a new board member tasked with hosting a meeting, this article has everything you need to level up your meeting game. Keep reading to unlock 11 best practices for hosting effective startup board meetings!
- What is a startup board meeting?
- Why are startup board meetings important?
- 11 best practices for hosting effective startup board meetings
- Free startup board meeting agenda template
What is a startup board meeting?
A startup board meeting is a meeting held among a board of directors that aims to set the policy and direction for the startup moving forward. Startup board meetings are used to gather an agreed-upon consensus from board members in an attempt to move forward strategically as a unified front. Additionally, this time should be used to discuss blockers or obstacles. These updates may include good or bad news and all items that are discussed must be approved by the board if they require a change of direction or new action plan. Board meetings are especially important for startups as they provide board members with the opportunity to innovate and devise strategic action plans together.
Why are startup board meetings important?
Board meetings are arguably more important in startups than in any other organization because startups are navigating uncharted territory. If you work within a startup, chances are you’re innovating in an entirely new space. You’re making things up as you go and moving forward gingerly. Taking the time to get together with all board members provides a unique opportunity to discuss progress, problem solve, and review financials or business plans.
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11 best practices for hosting effective startup board meetings
- Follow a meeting agenda
- Use a meeting agenda template
- Assign meeting roles
- Invite only those who need to be there
- Conduct a business review
- Define a meeting purpose statement
- Address startup risks
- Set clear business objectives
- Send a meeting follow-up email
- Take meeting minutes
- Ask for meeting feedback
1Follow a meeting agenda
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: no agenda, no attenda! There’s nothing worse than attending a meeting with no agenda—especially when you’re facilitating a meeting for busy board members. Using every moment wisely is crucial. Luckily, Fellow makes creating a thorough, collaborative meeting agenda easier than ever. Not only are you able to unlock expert tips and in-depth templates, but you’ll also be equipped with the tools needed to create a collaborative meeting agenda that keeps everyone on track from start to finish.
Pro tip: Collaborate on meeting agendas without leaving your video call! Use Fellow’s Google Meet extension and bring Fellow meeting agendas and notes into Google Meet automatically.
2Use a meeting agenda template
If you’re looking to host an effective startup board meeting, leveraging a meeting agenda template is a must. Meeting agenda templates are a great way to make sure nothing goes unnoticed. Each template provides step-by-step guidelines, talking points, and sections for action items and next steps so nothing gets forgotten or pushed to the side.
Learning how to host an effective startup board meeting can be daunting, but luckily there are numerous free resources available—like free meeting agenda templates. Fellow has created a thorough meeting agenda template gallery full of stellar meeting agenda templates so you never have to start from scratch.
3Assign meeting roles
Assigning meeting roles not only helps the meeting run smoothly, but it also boosts morale and helps attendees become more attentive. If a meeting attendee has a specific set of responsibilities during the meeting, they will be more inclined to engage and listen intently.
Key meeting roles include a host, a timekeeper, and a notetaker. The host handles everything from invites to direction during the call, the timekeeper oversees timing attendees when there’s a structured agenda, and the notetaker is in charge of keeping track of key talking points and decisions. Part of the notetaker’s duties include noting key takeaways and next steps so those in attendance know how to proceed when the meeting finishes. These meeting roles are essential, and as the facilitator, it’s your responsibility to make sure you assign these roles before the meeting date.
4Invite only those who need to be there
Inviting too many people or unnecessary attendees is a quick way to derail your meeting. Instead, be methodical with whom you invite. When curating your guest list, only include board members or key stakeholders. Too many attendees may lead to unnecessary conversation or a lengthy meeting. This meeting should be for startup board members only and you should only circulate your startup board meeting agenda with those you invite.
5Conduct a business review
Startups are ever changing and evolve rapidly, which is why it’s important to conduct a thorough business review when the opportunity presents itself. Startup board meetings pose the perfect opportunity to evaluate metrics and discuss performance as it relates to the overall startup business strategy and objectives. Everyone’s activities, interactions, and contributions need to be evaluated.
6Define a meeting purpose statement
Crafting a meeting purpose statement is an excellent way to foster alignment and clarity. A meeting purpose statement is a defining statement that clearly outlines the reason for scheduling the meeting. Meeting purpose statements are meant to help participants understand why they need to attend and what they should prepare before the meeting. A clear, purposeful statement can also serve as a set of guidelines for discussions during the meeting.
7Address startup risks
Risks are essential for growth; however, risks still need to be calculated. Exploring startup risks will ensure that nothing is pursued blindly. Scaling too quickly or too slowly can both have adverse effects—costing your organization money, creating conflicts between team members, making you lose sight of your vision, or watering down the quality of your product.
By assessing and managing the risks that your startup faces during your startup board meetings, you’ll help ensure that all legal and regulatory standards are upheld. Additionally, you will be able to ensure projects run smoothly. As your startup scales, it’s essential to address and mitigate risks.
8Set clear business objectives
You can’t host an effective startup board meeting if you aren’t clear on your business objectives. Setting clear business objectives allows business leaders to decide what their main objectives should be. From there, an action plan can be put into place that helps all involved achieve said objectives.
When setting your business objectives, remember that they need to be specific, achievable, relevant, and measurable. Setting short- and long-term goals will ensure you’re able to keep track of your progress as you work towards your objectives.
9Send a meeting follow-up email
Meeting follow-up emails are a great way to make sure everyone has all pertinent information after the meeting has ended. If you’ve ended the meeting with action items, this is the ideal time to follow up and ensure everyone’s on the right track. The best part about sending a meeting follow-up email is that you’re able to loop everybody in, whether or not they were able to attend the meeting.
10Take meeting minutes
This is where your notetaker will come in! Meeting minutes are imperative when it comes to referencing key decisions in the future—including, but not limited to, votes taken, conflicts that may have arisen, and other important details. Thorough meeting minutes can also help provide structure and ensure accountability when it comes to following up on future deadlines or projects. If you aren’t able to follow up on key decisions or source pertinent pieces of information after the meeting, you have arguably hosted an ineffective meeting. You need to keep track of all pertinent information to host an effective meeting.
11Ask for meeting feedback
If you aren’t sure if you’re hosting effective meetings, the simplest solution is to ask for feedback. Asking for meeting feedback can be as simple as sending a Slack message after the meeting or simply asking for feedback when the meeting finishes. Taking the time to learn from your peers, colleagues, or employees will help you successfully shape the future of all startup board meetings.
Free startup board meeting agenda template
This seed stage startup board meeting agenda template encompasses everything you need to host an effective startup board meeting. Composed of seven main sections—introduction, approvals, commitments, big picture, calibration, company building, and focus—this template is ideal for a board member or startup executive who is eager to host an impactful board meeting that sparks positive change.
Leverage a startup board meeting agenda during your next meeting
Leveraging a meeting agenda is the easiest way to make sure you’re prepared for your next startup board meeting. Taking advantage of one of our free templates will ensure you have everything you need to keep attendees engaged and on track from start to finish. Don’t forget to check out this FREE seed stage startup board meeting agenda template before your next meeting!