Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on Board Directors. To learn more about their roles and responsibilities, download this free eBook today Director's Guidebook: How to be an Effective Board Director in Early Stage Companies or purchase our books at Amazon.com.
Dashboards are a great way to summarize, view and discuss the many risks that are part of running a business. A good dashboard will pack a lot of business information into one condensed view. A good dashboard helps your management team and corporate board focus on the most important issues in operating the business. The following dashboards are designed to be used at board meetings by early stage technology and life science companies in the first several years of their operations. These dashboard templates are necessarily general, but are intended to be customized to suit the business.
We give a number of examples of key metrics to track and present at a board meeting. In addition, we provide several different layouts to the dashboard. We suggest you pick one that best fits your board’s recommendations and allows you to address important risks to the business in a clear, concise way. Regardless of the format you choose, you may also want to include a column summarizing the results from the previous period as well as the current period for the sake of comparison.
By no means is this a comprehensive set of dashboards that cover all of the key risks and issues for the business. You will need to determine the key elements that drive the business, and therefore, deserve discussion at a board meeting. When you mark an item Red or Yellow, those items will tend to generate conversation during the board meeting. Remember, don’t spend too much time on these items if you have more critical strategic issues to address.
You will have to be succinct to protect time for the important issues. There’s not much room for lots of words in each of the dashboard sections. Keep it short and to the point!
For a more in-depth discussion on early stage company board issues, download our companion eBook: Director’s Guidebook: How to be an Effective Board Director in Early Stage Companies or purchase our books at Amazon.com.