Board meetings

Once your business reaches a certain size it's important to start having formalised, regular board meetings. These are used for compliance purposes as well as to discuss and improve current and future business strategy. Find out how frequently board meetings should be held, who should attend, what should be discussed and how to assess progress.

  • Holding board meetings
  • What to discuss
  • Assessing progress

Holding board meetings

The right mix of people is crucial to the success of board meetings. You'll need members who can work well as part of a team and who can offer opinions beyond their main areas of expertise. If you have a limited company, board meetings must be held if any company director asks for one or if 10 per cent of members want one. Create an agenda and send a meeting notice including the date, time and location to other directors. For small businesses, meetings are normally held on a quarterly basis. A company secretary is responsible for organising meetings and keeping accurate records, while a chairperson runs the board. Non-executive directors bring an objective view to board meetings so it's important to that they give honest and informative opinions.

  • Ensure a mix of personalities and expertise at board meetings
  • Hold meetings on a quarterly basis initially

What to discuss

Board meetings are an opportunity to discuss issues such as your business' financial performance, current operations and future requirements. Ensure that all directors are fully briefed before each meeting and that there is adequate time allocated - any paperwork circulated before the meeting shouldn't take more than an hour to look through.  It's important to outline specific items to discuss, rather than a list of general issues, in order for the meeting to be as productive as possible.

  • Ensure there are specific items to discuss, rather than talking about general issues
  • Circulate any paperwork prior to the meeting

Assessing progress

Every board meeting should be followed up with a series of minutes, detailing what was discussed, actions agreed and decisions made. Distribute these to the relevant parties as soon as possible. This will help you to assess how the meetings are progressing, whether they are being run in an efficient manner and what changes you need to make. This will help you to identify any training that might be necessary, for example, do some members of the board lack the necessary experience? It's particularly important to assess the skills of the chairperson as they hold the most influence at meetings. Give them regular feedback on their performance.

  • Follow up every meeting with a written record of minutes
  • Consider training to improve the contribution of board members

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