A business narrative is a powerful tool that can help founders and startup leaders take their organizations to the next level. By aligning your actions and decisions with the company’s story, you can create a shared vision and purpose that unites and motivates members of your board.
Founders use board meetings to strategize, make decisions, and review progress towards key business objectives. In these meetings, a founder should stand out as a leader who provokes creative problem-solving and a unified front during both prosperous and difficult times.
Compared to other facets of running your business, a board meeting can feel pretty intimidating, especially for first-time founders. Breaking your meeting down into accomplishable chunks and building a narrative to help guide you can alleviate some pressure.
Build A Strategic Narrative For Board Meetings In 5 Steps
You need to present the purpose of your meeting in a way that provides an emotional connection to your board. Board meetings aren’t just a chance to catch up on the company's progress; they are an opportunity to let your company’s vision and corresponding strategy shine while getting peer feedback.
Building a strategic narrative ensures that the board meeting is engaging, productive, and informative. You’re juggling the presentation of business data, product or service updates, and building trust through informative storytelling for board members. It’s a lot at once, but it’s critical to produce productive board meetings every time.
Here’s how to get started.
1. Find Your Story
Say you’re pitching a new idea to your board; you probably have a good story behind the concept. Present the financial metrics, business plan, and your story together. The business side and personal connection should support each other in your delivery.
Whether you’re discussing raising capital or product roadmaps, your presentation should flow naturally down the agenda you prepared. There’s no point in creating an in-depth story narrative for board members if it isn’t related to the point of the meeting.
2. Guarantee Clarity
A great story needs to be easy to follow. Remember, you’re informing the board and inflating their confidence in your business decisions. If you’re presenting a cash flow projection with plans to allocate extra funds somewhere specific, your board members need to understand the why behind it.
3. Keep It Short
Your narrative should be an introduction, not the whole show. Aim for a seamless transition from the story aspect of your narrative, going into further details with numbers and reports. Your board members believe in you and your goals, but you must sustain their attention and keep everything relevant.
4. Implement Room For Discussion
Discussions are a crucial part of board meetings. You don’t want to overstuff the meeting with talking points; it defeats the purpose of pulling the board into an engaging presentation. Design your narrative in a way that ignites a discussion between everyone in the meeting. Your goal is to make the board believe in what you’re presenting, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be questions or opinions.
5. Communicate Your Plans
At the tail end of your presentation, your board members should have faith in you as the founder and understand the next steps in your strategy. A good narrative with no end game gets nothing accomplished. This is a great place to call our next steps or action items that will help you reach the goals you presented.
Prepare For Board Meetings With Help From Zeni
If you’ve never prepared a board meeting agenda, having a seasoned professional's help will alleviate half your stress. At Zeni, we offer CFO-like services to founders seeking extra help outside their bookkeeping needs.
Instead of working separately with a bookkeeper, an accountant, a financial advisor, and a CFO, we wrap each role into one. Each of our customers works with a dedicated Zeni controller that has an in-depth understanding of that individual company’s finances from the beginning. Leveraging AI-driven data and analytics from Zeni’s Dashboard, our controllers help founders create a well-rounded, engaging, and accurate board presentation every time.
Let us handle the financial side while you work on your narrative. Together we’ll help you craft an inspiring and informative meeting for your board.
Learn more about running a productive board meeting with these additional resources:
6 Board Meeting Agenda Must Haves
How To Take Board Meeting Minutes: Do’s And Dont’s