The 1-Hour Board Meeting
Making use of investor time
Note: Quaestor has since become Standard Metrics
Founders who keep their investors informed and run disciplined meetings are those who get the most out of their board members.
Too many board meetings waste time getting investors up to speed on the metrics, rather than strategic conversations getting their input and advice.
Eliminating this inefficiency was a big part of what motivated us to start Quaestor— a company whose mission is to create transparency in venture capital and bring the processes CEOs and boards use to communicate and share data into the 21st century.
Quaestor creates a single source of truth where founders can track their company’s cash flow, burn, runway and see other important metrics. Founders can establish best-practices to stay on top of their financials and metrics, and can share that data on a permission basis with investors and executives.
More transparency between founders and investors helps protect builders from costly financial surprises and enables them to leverage the power of their network to raise their next round and solve critical business problems as they arise.
The most productive meetings between investors and founders occur when both are well-informed of the business’ metrics and can spend time discussing how to accelerate the business rather than dwelling on the speed bumps.
For early stage companies, a great board meeting shouldn’t require more than one hour. As a company matures, the board meetings will inevitably get longer as more members of the executive team are featured, and expectations of new investors are addressed. But as innovations like Quaestor eliminate the frictions in investor relations and facilitate information sharing, founders should be more equipped than ever to run productive board meetings no matter the stage.
Highlights & Lowlights — 2 Minutes
An effective board meeting starts with the founder’s high level perspective. Highlights and lowlights immediately help discern what is working and what isn’t. Investors are close to the business, but they’re not involved in the day to day, so this framing helps board members understand the insider perspective.
Metric milestones, key deals, and new hires are examples of valuable highlights to celebrate. Declining metrics, talent issues, strategic misses, and unexpected capital needs are important lowlights to call out.
Financial Metrics — 8 Minutes
Quaestor minimizes surprises. If founders choose, it can update board members on financial metrics instantly so that they come into this part of the conversation well-informed.
Still, the founder should always be prepared to speak to cash in the bank and burn, and be clear with how much runway is left based on a few different revenue and burn assumptions. These shouldn’t just be projections under bad, good, great scenarios. There should be detailed thought behind each assumption to speak to if necessary.
Product, Sales & Marketing — 10 Minutes
Covering Product, Sales, and Marketing in ten minutes is possible if you’re well prepared.
Product roadmaps must be succinct. Grouping by phases helps board members quickly understand progress and see the whole picture. The phases should be structured at a high level to show what’s complete, what’s underway, and what lies ahead both next year and in the more distant future.
Metrics on engagement are especially important before companies find product-market-fit. Founders should align with their board early and have frequent conversations about this. The North Star metric very well might be unique to each company. While standard metrics like NPS, churn, NRR, LTV/CAC can apply, founders should never assume that they alone determine what matters most to their business.
Founders should regularly review the marketing funnel, pipeline generation, conversion rates, and weighted pipeline. Surprising variances (both good and bad) need to be called out to discuss what’s driving these swings.
Marketing is the high-level sales strategy or strategic view of the battlefield. Simple tables can’t capture insights on what’s working or missing in the product and how those goals are interacting with the pipeline. As the company grows, cohort analysis matters, but even more important is discussing and testing the intuition on how marketing and product are interacting and what this means for the company’s resource allocation and business strategy.
Strategy & Board Asks — 35 Minutes
There’s no hard and fast rule about how to sequence discussing product, sales and marketing with strategy, the two are deeply related. Founders should jump into strategy chats on any issues that have come up in the previous section. The point is to use the bulk of the board meeting time to extract the most value out of the board.
Spend a lot of time on strategic insights, core principles, product goals, and the market. Share multiple financial scenarios for the next three years, incorporating the resources and potential evolution of your business. Call out the highest priority issues that you need help with like finding key hires or reconciling with large misses.
Other than strategy, founders should leverage board members for help on key resources like talent, financing, business development, and leads from their network who are helpful to the business.
Closing — 5 Minutes
Any administrative issues should be handled at the very end of the meeting. Remember to include fully diluted numbers and percentages for option grants.
No technology can or should run your board meeting. But organizing it ahead of time and coordinating with the participants through a platform like Quaestor enables founders to emulate the discipline and timeliness of top operators.
Proud to work with the Quaestor team on a custom board deck template. Access the one-hour-deck on the Quaestor platform here.