Huel Founder and CMO, and All Together Volunteer Advisor, Julian Hearn believes the reason for Huel’s staggering success is down to his early focus on a successful board.
Building a startup as a sole founder can be extremely tough – and lonely. Some people opt for mentors, but it’s difficult to predict if they can really give you the time and attention you need.
Huel was my second startup, so I already had a good understanding of the challenges I would face, and knew the importance of high quality, impartial advice from people with more experience than you.
So I started our board as a priority – within 4 months of launch – and I believe it has been instrumental to our success. But how do you go about forming a board, especially at such an early stage? And how do you ensure it’s working for you?
Several years on from our first board meeting and I’m happy to share my six key tips for a successful board, especially in the early years as a start up:
Keep it small. We had 4 people on the board for the first two years.
Take advantage of non execs. Two of our first four board members were non executive. I believe external people offer a completely different perspective.
Never be the smartest one in the room. Appoint people who have been more successful than you in their field and have skills and experience you don’t have.
Be tight on timing. Our meetings were 4 hours, once a month, off-site. 30 minutes was spent on updates and KPIs, leaving 3.5 hours for the important discussion topics: should we go left or right?
Take the final decision. You are not reporting to the board: they work for you, so pick their brains as much as possible, but you don’t have to follow their advice.
Get the board on board. Give your everyone shares so they’re all aligned and passionate about success.