Too often I receive voluminous board packets from over zealous CEO that are 50+, 100+, sometimes 200+ pages. While CEOs intend for such a deliverable to be a sign of comprehensive hard work, it actually makes our life as board members difficult. The ideal board packet is a simple PowerPoint Deck that highlights accomplishments, issues, and goals to be completed by next session. The major theme of a board deck is marking accomplishments versus promises from the last board meeting. Annual board meetings should be much more comprehensive, but your typical board meeting should include the following:
A good executive summary sets the mood for the meeting.
1. Take care of governance issues like options, approvals etc. first.
2. Summarize cash position. Highlight cash on hand, anticipated burn and cash out date.
3. Summarize progress of the business. Have a two column slide on that outlines what you said you would do and what you accomplished.
4. Summarize any major issues/observations encountered during the quarter
Then methodically go through with a few slides for each functional area of your business, technology, product development, partner development, marketing, sales, customer service and financials. No more than 2 slides per area highlighting agreed upon goals for the period and what you've accomplished.
5. In the technology and product sections, highlight your product
development gantt chart highlighting actual versus planned
deliverables. Be able to speak to missed dates with rationale and how
it will be corrected
6. In partner development, summarize the meat of the deal. Are there pre-commitments or is it just a Barney deal? What will it cost to support the deal and what do we expect to get out of it?
7. In marketing, summarize PR placements and lead generation activity. How well are you converting leads into qualified sales opportunities?
8. In your sales section, walk through the pipeline deal by deal in salesforce.com format highlighting the deals you closed this quarter and expect to close next quarter, the quarter after that, etc and make sure those numbers tie to the quarterly financials you present. Your board should become very comfortable for your ability to predict timing of closings of your deals.
9. In the financials sections, highlight cash flow. It is really all that matters. Bookings are great, but cash flow timing is start-ups is crucial to understand. Even the most promising business are out of business when they our out of cash. Investors hate bridge loan fire drills.
9. Strategic topic. If appropriate, pull one topic out of the weeds for a strategic discussion like product vision, next target markets etc. Have a slide or two to spur discussion.
10. Finish with a summary slides highlight key goals before the next board meeting.