Board of Directors Presentation Outline

In previous posts, I’ve covered what I think is a good prototype for an investor presentation or “pitch deck.”  Moving forward from a successful funding, you will start having board meetings that take a more serious tone and serve a more important purpose.

This next series of posts will cover a presentation outline, a similar set of examples and suggested best practices for a board presentation that a CEO of a company might present to his board on a periodic (quarterly is typical for later-stage companies; early-stage companies may have more frequent meetings).

A few high-level thoughts:

  • The goal of a the board book and the board meeting is to clearly communicate the state of the business to board members in order to best equip them to perform their duties in the course of 2-3 hours.  The 30-90 day time frame over which typical board meetings are concerned requires that a certain amount of past, present and future must be covered across the entire business:  how did things turn out last quarter? (the past)  what happened this quarter? (present)  what are our forecasts for next quarter? (future)
  • Metrics, metrics, metrics.  If you can measure something, you can almost always manage it.  Standardizing on a set of metrics for your company that can be used to measure the health and execution of the business is a concept that is broadly applicable (critical!) to your business…but don’t miss an opportunity to align the board with the same metrics that you’re using to manage executives and run the business itself.
    • How fast is revenue growing?  how much does it take to acquire a customer?  how much does it cost to build your product? or host your web app?  how many lines of code? how many iterations or deployments per month?   There are many different things that might indicate a healthy business and crisp execution; they will be different for every company.
  • All that said, above, less is usually more in board presentations.  In the majority of cases, short, concise, clear information is better than tons of reports, data and analysis.
  • In my opinion, board members should have a hard-copy of the board presentation in their hands no less than 3 days ahead of the meeting. This is not a simple task as creating a thorough, coherent board book takes the a significant amount of focus from the CEO and much of the senior team.  Nonetheless, it’s important if you want your board members to meaningfully engage during the meeting itself.  Developing a process for creating your board book is nearly as important as the material itself; a poor process can result in late books, bad information, sloppy presentation, and make a senior team appear to be out of sync with each other.
  • The “size and shape” of the board book should reflect the stage and complexity of the business;  early-stage companies should have a much more streamlined presentation than later-stage, larger and more complex businesses.

Sample Board Presentation Outline

In subsequent posts, using the outline below, I’ll add much more detail to each slide and give an example as done in the investor pitch deck discussion.

  • Title & Agenda: 1 slide
    • This is the “call to order” slide; the agenda looks like the bulleted list. I like to put owners of the section on each agenda item and even the time that I expect to spend on that section.
    • Include company name and date on the title page; many investors and board members will bring past board presentations to subsequent meetings to help them understand what has changed and what has remained the same…and they’re probably on numerous boards. help them be organized.
  • CEO Overview: 1-2 slides
    • Highlights
    • Key objectives or goals
    • Issues
    • NOTE:  If you’re the CEO or chairman, I highly recommend creating the CEO overview LAST after everyone else has completed their sections and the board presentation is nearing completion; this is a great place to set the table and establish the tone / theme of the board meeting.
  • Sales / Services / Business Development:  2-3 slides
    • Highlights, key objectives, issues
    • Sales read out: past quarter results, current quarter pipeline + forecast
    • Partner objectives and activities
  • Finance: 3-5 slides
    • Highlights, key objectives, issues
    • bookings and revenue
    • full, current-quarter financial snapshot
  • Marketing: 1-2 slides
    • Highlights, key objectives, issues
  • Product / Dev / Technology: 1-2 slides
    • Highlights, key objectives, issues
  • Board Business: 1-2 slides
    • Approval of last meetings minutes
    • Proposed Resolutions
    • Option grants / equity / team discussion (new hires; recent terminations)
    • Other business

Next time: we’ll add a bunch more detail and actual example slides.


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