So you secured funding and your company is growing rapidly, but there is an empty board room with a table and chairs in your new office space. Selecting a board of directors for the first time is something every successful entrepreneur has done, and it shouldn’t be something that you dread.
Limit the Seats
A small board is usually the key to maintaining order in a startup. A large board will usually create clutter and can slow many processes. By having five people on your board you will eliminate any ties votes and you will also be able to deal with them on a face to face basis.
Hire to your Needs
Discover what your needs are from a board of directors. By identifying where you need help, you will be able to narrow your search. Keep in mind that you are still the CEO, but your board will act as advisors when you need them. By defining your needs, you will be able to write a job description that attracts quality candidates. Define the roles of each board member so there is no confusion.
Start looking for professionals who have diverse backgrounds and experiences to be able to give the company unique perspectives. What you do not want are 5 directors who all have the same backgrounds and preferences as that will most likely leave little room for fresh ideas.
Use your Network
The best place to start your search is by asking the people you know for suggestions. Some of the best board members you could have may only be one or two degrees of separation away. By asking for referrals, you will find people who are already trusted by the ones you trust. Building trust with these individuals is key to the success of your company, and you want to make sure they are going to have your best interests in mind.
Maintain the Company Culture
Your board may not be involved the day-to-day decisions your company, but they should have the same basic beliefs on company culture as your executives do. If you believe a company with flexible office hours and a lax dress code optimizes your employees’ productivity, then your board should have that same belief. By selecting a board with the same company culture in mind, you eliminate time-wasting conversations in board meetings regarding those decisions.
Selecting board should not be an impulsive decision. It could take you months to come to a decision, and there is nothing wrong with that. Your board should be people who have your company’s best interest in mind. You need to be able to trust their decisions and feel comfortable going to them for advice.
Selecting your board is an exciting step in the growth of your company. You will meet a lot of great people and it will most likely be difficult to make your final decisions, but not many things about being the CEO of a startup are easy. Keep these tips in mind when you get to that point and always remember that at the end of the day it is your company.