BLOG STARTUPS, VENTURE AND THE TECH BUSINESS

February 25 2010
by John Backus

VC Tips for Entrepreneurs: How to manage the VC on your Board

Venture Capitalists love giving advice to startup entrepreneurs.  We especially love doing it while in the boardroom, before, during, and after that 40-slide powerpoint presentation that you and your management team spent a week preparing.  With a VC on your board of directors, you never know if you are going to get The Good, The Bad or The Ugly VC.  I should know.  I am a VC.  And I was once an entrepreneur.

As an entrepreneur-turned-VC, I am very sensitive to the advice I give in my role as a director.  The VC is not running the company.  The CEO is.  The VC’s advice is important, and should be weighed, but should not be blindly followed.  We will never know as much about your business as you will.

BUT, we will be able to bring a perspective on your company and your industry from the vantage point of everything else we see, daily, as a VC.  So do consider that perspective as you decide to heed or not  heed our advice.

VCs are busy.  We sit on many boards at once.  At New Atlantic Ventures, each partner is limited to six board seats.  But I have VC-friends who sit on more than a dozen boards.  So, as an entrepreneur, how do you get more than your fair share of my attention, and how do you get me to help you and your company when and where you need the help?

I have found that the best CEO-entrepreneurs do four things in managing their Board of Directors (which of course includes the VC.)

  1. After every Board meeting, the CEO sends out a list of “action items” which came out of the conversations in the Board meeting.  These are things that the CEO and the Company have committed to do, as well as things that any board members have committed to do.
  2. Start your next board meeting with the action action items from the prior meeting.  List them on one page.  What the item is, who was responsible, and the due date.  Go over each item to bring closure to the discussions from the prior meeting.
  3. Give every board member “to do’s” in the board meeting and put them on the action item list.  Could be as simple as, “Make an introduction to Cisco.”  Or “Introduce company to XYZ VC fund for “B” round presentation.
  4. Circulate the action item list , parsed by board member, 48 hours before the meeting.  Remind them what they agreed to do between board meetings. (This may be the moment in time that your VC pays attention to his action item!)

If you do this, your VC will work for you, doing what you want.  Maybe last minute – meaning the items will be done right before the board meeting.  But they will get done.  Because we don’t want to show up on the action item list as having not done our job.

Try it.  It really works!

COMMENTS

February 25 2010
by John Backus

Do you have a VC sitting on your Board? Tips on how to have your VC work for you – instead of the other way around! http://ow.ly/1brCk

February 26 2010
by NewAtlanticVentures

From the NAV Blog: VC Tips for Entrepreneurs: How to manage the VC on your Board http://bit.ly/cqoV2F

February 26 2010
by evanweisel

RT @jcbackus: Do you have a VC sitting on your Board? Tips on how to have your VC work for you – instead of the other way around! http://ow.ly/1brCk

February 26 2010
by WalterGordy

VC Tips for Entrepreneurs: How to manage the VC on your Board …: Venture Capitalists love giving advice to start… http://bit.ly/dwzGqh

February 26 2010
by Dennis Short

VC Tips for Entrepreneurs: How to manage the VC on your Board …: Venture Capitalists love giving advice to start… http://bit.ly/ccZDBq

February 26 2010
by Michael Kramer

VC Tips for Entrepreneurs: How to manage the VC on your Board … http://bit.ly/cAnGLM

February 26 2010
by itext Communication

VC Tips for Entrepreneurs: How to manage the VC on your Board … http://bit.ly/cAnGLM

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