I’m surprised at how many startups and growing companies in Atlanta (less than $5mm revenue) don’t have a Board. Whatever you call your board members (Advisors, Directors, etc…) I believe the perspective and value they provide are critical for any company that wants to go faster.
Board members and board meetings help entrepreneurs and their teams establish the bigger picture rhythm. Hopefully, you are doing your daily standup checkins, and perhaps weekly team meetings and monthly deep dives, but Board meetings are different. They help you revisit your 5-, 3-, 1-year and even Quarterly goals and strategy. It’s a refreshing “slow down to go faster” routine that should be embraced.
In my personal experience, I knew the Board was providing me the most value when I left feeling the most uncomfortable. A good Board will challenge you when you get comfortable. They will point out big areas where you are weak or completely missing the boat. Many times, they also provide great support personally for entrepreneurs. If they are the right people, they’ve likely been there, done that, and can relate to the stress that entrepreneurs face in a young, growing company. Entrepreneurs are naturally optimistic. We are dreamers and big idea people. A Board help balance this out with reminders to check in with reality, measure the right things, and keep you in gear. It’s important to develop a thick skin in all this because you don’t want the tough love to hurt your optimism and excitement for the business. Just go in with the right expectations, and you will end up gaining tons of good energy.
This is one of those items that investors require from startups where they invest money: to form a Board of Directors. To me, even if you aren’t raising money, it’s an area where a best practice for the big boys will serve you well.