How to run your startup board meetings
The founder's guide to running a brilliant board meeting. Get expert tips on what documents you need, how to prepare and...
Board meetings are an important legal requirement for running a company. They’re a platform for strategic planning and making decisions. To run an effective board meeting, you need a well-structured agenda to guide discussions and make sure all topics are covered.
In this article, we’ll guide you through how to write a board meeting agenda.
– Video: expert insights on startup boards and board meetings
– What a board meeting agenda is
– Why you need an agenda
– What to discuss at a board meeting
– How to write an agenda for a board meeting
– What to include in the agenda
– Who should write the agenda
– Appendix: Startup board resources
– Talk to an expert
Get insider insights from a board member and founder – SeedLegals co-founder and CEO, Anthony Rose, shares his thoughts on how to run a board and board meetings 👇
A board meeting agenda is a document that outlines the topics and issues to discuss during a board meeting. See it as a roadmap for the meeting, helping to keep discussions focused, efficient, and in line with your company’s strategic goals.
As well as outlining the topics, a board meeting agenda also guides the flow of the meeting and allocates time to each point of discussion, to help you stay on track.
A well-crafted agenda helps you get the most out of your valuable time. It ensures that you cover everything that needs to be discussed and make the decisions that need to be made. It helps you run effective board meetings and cultivate:
Efficiency: the agenda ensures that time is used wisely and you address key topics without getting sidetracked. It helps participants prepare and contributes to a more streamlined and efficient meeting.
Accountability: clearly outlined agenda items sent out ahead of time ensure that your board members are ready for the meeting and are aware of their roles and responsibilities.
Strategic focus: a well-crafted agenda helps maintain strategic focus by prioritising key topics and giving your board the opportunity to align on the company’s direction.
An agenda is an important part of helping your board prepare for the meeting. Prepare the agenda ahead of time and send it out with your board pack before the meeting, along with the invite so everyone can come prepared.
What you discuss at a board meeting will vary based on the stage of the company, its goals, and current challenges. However, here are some common topics that are typically covered in startup board meetings:
To create your agenda, follow these steps 👇
Ask for input from board members
Before compiling your agenda items, make sure to consult the board to understand what needs to be discussed.
Identify and prioritise key topics for discussion
Decide on the agenda items you want to discuss. What you choose will depend on your current business needs and your preferred approach to board meetings. Some founders like to only discuss the minimum obligations while others like to discuss strategic goals.
It’s important that founders stay in control of board decisions. That’s why you need to carefully select the topics you discuss at your board meeting. You can use your board meetings to simply cover the minimum obligations, or you can use them to discuss bigger picture plans with your board – but remember that’s something you can also do outside of your board meetings. If you discuss bigger picture plans openly during the board meeting, you run the risk of a decision being made that you weren’t necessarily prepared to make.
Co-founder & CEO,
Include regular agenda items
Start with routine items such as approval of previous minutes, financial updates, and operational reports. Include a standing item for strategic updates to ensure continuous alignment with the business goals.
Review action items
Include a section to review action items from the previous meeting. Ensure accountability by tracking progress on assigned tasks.
Allocate time wisely
Assign appropriate time slots for each agenda item. Be realistic about time constraints and avoid overloading the agenda.
Invite relevant speakers
If specific topics require input from experts or team members, invite them to present during the meeting.
Give legal and compliance updates
It’s important to stay informed about changes in regulations, mitigate risks, and align business strategies with legal requirements.
Use a template
The most efficient way to write your board meeting agenda is to use a template. Make sure the layout is clean and simple.
Include supporting documents
Make sure to include any supporting documents you need for the meeting in a board pack, which you’ll send out with your agenda.
Share the agenda and supporting documents ahead of time
Send the agenda out ahead of time, along with all supporting documents in your board pack, so everyone can prepare and know what to expect.
Make sure your agenda includes these basic details 👇
A company founder or board chairperson should write the board meeting agenda. The goal is to have someone with a comprehensive understanding of the company’s objectives, compliance requirements, and the current business environment take the lead in crafting a well-structured and focused board meeting agenda.
Here’s an example of a simple board meeting agenda 👇 You can create one in just a few clicks on SeedLegals, using our template.
Want to know how we can simplify your board management, startup funding legals, share option schemes and more? Book a call with one of our experts and we’ll talk you through how we can help.