As the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the nature of businesses and the way we work, it’s making even more clear how important communication is when it comes to effective collaboration.
I’ve been reflecting on this a lot, particularly with regard to building great relationships between founders and investors, because we’ve recently closed a number of new deals and are continuing to meet new founders. As this new reality has caused me to re-evaluate my “typical” post-investment playbook, it begs the question: What does building a productive relationship post-close look like now and in more ordinary times?
I always tell founders that as a board member, my goal is to earn the right to be their first phone call in good times and especially bad, and that I also want to be able to proactively pitch both in times of crisis and when it’s business as usual. I know that there’s a fine line between an investor being helpful and being a tax, though, but this onboarding can help reduce the risk that it’s the latter. This is a two-way street, of course, but the better established this process is, the faster valuable contributions can happen.
Here’s where I’d start.
The first 30 days
Forming a new board and onboarding investors is similar to launching a team, and there’s plenty of research that shows that the way you approach this launch period is important for long-term success.
First, you’ll want to align with investors on update and sync cadence — and start implementing it. It’s a good idea to plan on regular email updates on a monthly basis leading up to the first board meeting, with the goal of getting new board member(s) up to speed so they can provide value and be helpful.
I appreciate seeing high-level metric updates as well as a few bullets on what is going well and what is not, and what is top of mind for the CEO. This might include new executives joining the ranks, new marketing activities or product planning and updates on key KPIs. For big milestones like a major launch or impactful competitive moves, or in extraordinary circumstances, like the coronavirus pandemic, it’s good hygiene to do more ad hoc updates.