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Startup Boards

What is a Startup Board?

A board is responsible for making major business decisions and deciding the direction the business is going to go in. They are the ones who recruit and dismiss senior management, approve budgets and are in charge of the financing of the business. The board has to approve the salaries of key hires and other compensation such as stock. As well as this, they can provide connections with other businesses and professionals that can be helpful for the business, as well as their experience and advice.

When should a startup board be set up?

A startup board should be set up as soon as you start a business. It is perfectly fine for the board to have just one member when you first start out. Having a board is absolutely essential for handling major business matter such as financing and issuing stocks. Typically in startups, the founder of the business will be on the board. More members can be added to the board in due course.

Who else is on the startup board and why does it matter?

As board members make the most important decisions about a company, who sits on the board is crucial. It is incredibly important to make sure that whoever is on the board is knowledgeable on the industry and the company they are working for. The structure of the board is likely to change over time and will vary depending on the business, but there are standard approaches for start-up businesses. It is common for companies to choose an odd number of board members, in order to reduce the risk of a tie vote.

How often do startup boards meet?

The frequency of board meetings depends on what stage the business is at, the needs of management plus other factors. For startup businesses, board meetings are typically once every quarter – towards the start of the quarter in order to review the previous quarter’s results. There may be more frequent board meetings for early-stage businesses, yet they are likely to be more informal and can either be in person or over the phone. Informal and frequent board meetings can be incredibly beneficial to early-stage businesses as their strategies are likely to change direction quite frequently.

There can be exceptional circumstances that mean the startup board has to meet, such as potential acquisitions or crisis situations. However, typically a quarterly board meeting lasts an average of three hours, but can be longer.

Do I pay startup board members?

Payment to startup board members can vary on the experience of the member, and can vary between businesses. In general, members that represent the investment funds of a company do not receive compensation to serve on the board. Nevertheless, independent board members can be paid for their time and advice. In early-stage businesses, a director may receive 0.5% to 2.0% equity. As the business grows, this equity should drop. For any out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, businesses will generally reimburse the directors. Usually, the business will compensate them from any liabilitie, for example, if they get sued. It is also required that the business provides an insurance.

Where can I find some useful startup board templates, tools and methods?

Eloquens has put together the largest collection of downloadable templates, tools, tips and methods to manage and carry out your Startup Board meetings with investors, business angels, venture capitalists and founders. Feel free to check them out below. Like always, if you have enjoyed them, feel free to give them a rating and a review.

If you would like more information on this subject, please feel free to have a look at the following links:

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