…And make the most out of it
The past 18 months have served as one of the most significant learning curves in our corporate careers. No university or degree could have ever prepared us for what we faced as a company and as a board. We truly experienced the “School of hard knocks” and went through a head on wind to finally re-emerge stronger than ever.
18 months ago we evolved from a pure startup to a startup playing ball in the big boys league. In a matter of a few weeks we reshaped ANCHOVY. as a public company, we brought on board external corporate advisors, we had to get approval for most things we do, we appointed a big four firm as our auditor and most importantly we built an external board of non executive directors.
An external board of directors is essential for any company operating at a certain level as it adds insights which as founders we might not be able to see. The board can be seen as the advisors to the founders and it’s in the hands of the founders to engage and build a relationship with the board. The first step in this process is identifying individuals which you trust, respect and honestly believe can add value to your company. We hand picked our board based on the skill sets we were after, which when combined with those of the founders give us a strong all rounded team
A rude awakening
Our original understanding of a board was that we would present concepts which required a material investment and either get their approval or not. We were wrong and the function of our board is that of strategic thinking and solving challenges together. The following are a few learnings which have allowed us to get the most out of our board:
- Host the board meetings onsite and offsite to keep them as creative as possible
- Treat each board meeting as a workshop not a presentation
- Send across the board pack (decks, financials and other material) at least 5 working days in advance
- Engage the board before every board meeting to clarify any points which are unclear
- A healthy board snack pack is great! fresh juices and light nibbles to keep energy up
- Keep the board meeting concise, we normally spend the first 45 minutes powering through past board meeting minutes, financials and necessary statutory items
- Appoint a chairman to run the board meeting, this drastically avoids benders
- Allow for two focal points to be discussed, 45-60 minutes dedicated to each
- An external person should be roped into the meeting to take minutes and follow up on the action points
I will dive deeper into the mechanisms on how a listed company with a bond operates in a later article.