Companies with a healthy relationship with their investors are happier companies. Unhealthy relationship between investors and founders can be quite stressful. That’s why it is critical for startups and their investors to work as a team and be on one side of the table.
While some responsibility of ensuring a healthy relationship is obviously with the investors, founders have a critical role to play in this process.
Clarity on goals and objectives
The starting point of course is to ensure that your investors and founders are aligned on the goals & milestones and objectives of the company, and the parameters on which progress is to be measured.
Agree on the communication and intervention processes
Getting investor agreements on the periodicity and format of reporting and engagement is helpful in ensuring that the intervention is structured and planned. A monthly review is suggested for startups, though in concept stage companies founders may benefit from the experience and the business relationships of investors and hence may engage more frequently.
Communicate early on challenges and issues
No one expects to have a smooth journey and challenges and roadblocks are part of the journey. Your investors are critical stakeholders in your progress. Hence, if there are challenges and issues, often investors can assist with solutions. Communicate early and be transparent.
Reporting and templates
Investors and founders should agree on the format for reporting progress. A template that captures the key parameters should be drawn and presented every month to investors.
Have formal board meetings, including structured meetings with your advisory board members
Apart from it being mandatory governance requirements, quarterly board meetings are a good forum to engage with a wider group of stakeholders where progress, challenges, issues and direction changes, if any, can be discussed.