September 30, 2005

Managing the board

Allen Morgan, quoting his friend John Kernan, has tips on conducting board meetings:
1. NEVER have the board meetng "at" the board meeting. ALWAYS call every director a few days before the meeting and run every important issue by them to get their input, Also update them on company performance, especially the bad news, and let them "beat you up" privately. That way, the meeting can focus in a constructive fashion on problem-solving and building the Company for the future.

2. Maximum Powerpoint show is four slides from any presenter, especially yourself. This should be the limit of director interest in detail.

..4. Have your key team members do almost all the presentations. It gives them exposure and allows you to make sage comments along with the rest of the board. A perfect board meeting is when 10% of the talking is done by the CEO, 60% by the team, and 30% by the directors.

..8. For VC directors, try to picture how they are describing your Company to their partners, and what questions their partners are asking. Your job is to make each director a hero to their partners (or corporate boss).

If you work hard, always act in good faith and in the best interest of the Company -- and if you follow these 10 rules -- most VC's will still be interested in financing your next deal, even if the Company tanks.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence India, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.