How to Run a Successful Board Meeting

So you’ve brought on institutional capital for the first time, agreed to a board structure in the legal docs, and now you have directors that must be kept up to speed on your company (and who get to have a say in the way that you run things). So what’s next?

One of the typical first steps is implementing the dreaded board meeting. First off, take a deep breath and relax… Remember that your board of directors is on your side. Your investors want to see your company succeed as much as you do, and they can be a valuable resource to you. With that in mind, a board meeting should be treated as a regular check-in (but probably shouldn’t be your only contact) with people who want to help execute your vision. You should approach the meeting as an opportunity to take advantage of the knowledge and experience of a group of people that can be very helpful to you in working through big strategic issues.

Primary’s No. 1 rule for these gathering is: Don’t sugarcoat it. The boardroom is definitely a place to celebrate your wins, but it should also be a place to work through your problems. Your investors likely hold numerous board seats, and have the benefit of having worked through some of the problems that you are facing. Use their experience to help you solve your most pressing issues! Even if they haven’t encountered your exact problems before, they may be able to connect you with someone who has.

But enough big-picture stuff. What about the nitty-gritty of how to run the actual board meeting? The reality is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all template that works for everyone. But having been to A LOT of board meetings, we’ve assembled some best practices on how to run a successful board meeting for seed-stage companies. We hope you find this to be a helpful resource as you determine the best way of working with your board and extracting as much value as possible out of the brilliant minds around you.



Startup LessonsBrad Svrluga