Sharing regular business updates is an important discipline for startups and management teams. For me, these regular updates come each week and month in the forms of weekly CEO calls and email updates from CEOs. These regular updates focus on the state of the business - finance, sales, marketing, product, HR.
For the monthly update (in addition to monthly board meetings), the update comes a few days after the month-end and is focused on sales - sales performance against budget, deals won, pushed, lost.
I am the first person to say that we don't need reporting for the sake of reporting. These updates are short emails, calls, short write-ups. We are not talking about fancy slides.
Regular, short-form business update is important for the following reasons:
- Reflection on the state of affairs. Everyone from the Board to the management team are clear regarding where things are and where we are going at any given point. No week, month, quarter is perfect. These regular updates celebrate small and interim wins and point out gaps. Despite what we read in popular media, startup scaling is very hard and always has ups and downs. It takes the right management team, investors, and Board members to get the job done. And the right operating and investors teams know how to react from these regular business updates.
- Build trust through over-communication. The more the Board understands what is happening week to week and month to month, the fewer surprises will come out during quarterly Board meetings. Board meetings can then focus on strategic matters.
- Discipline. Discipline will pay dividends. There is a reason that marathon runners track their miles and pace every day/week. Building a successful startup is a marathon, and we have to track where we are along the way.
Growth is never easy. Growth, in part, is built with discipline.