Doyletech’s Entrepreneurial Services (ES) provides technology managers and entrepreneurs with the tools and techniques needed for commercial success. We place great emphasis on the recruitment and proper functioning of a Board of Directors and/or Board of Advisors. The success (and failure) of many a Canadian technology company can be directly attributed to the quality of the firm’s board of directors.
We offer a private, hands-on, one-on-one service with managers to address specific operational issues, or to help put in place proper management systems and controls.
When entrepreneurs go looking for investment capital, the last thing they are likely to have on their minds is a board of directors. Yet it is the first thing that should be on the minds of the investors. In fact, both parties should agree on the need for a competent and active board of directors as the deal is being put together, regardless of who ends up with control of the company. A good board of directors is as important as a good management team, a good business plan, and good investors. A company that has all four is almost bound to succeed. In fact, the four are directly related to each other. Good investors usually insist that the original business plan is sound. Once they have invested in it, they will appoint a good board. The board will ensure that the business plan is met or a more realistic one established. It takes a good management team to put forward a good business plan and to respond to a good board of directors. So the connection between all four is a very direct one.
Therefore, one of the critical roles of the board is to ensure that management is continuously following a plan that is attainable. Without a good board, the management team might be tempted to slacken off from a business plan that appears to be too difficult to meet, or worse still, it might deviate from the plan and pursue other technologies, products, or markets without even telling the board.
The board should plan to meet once a month during the first year, twice a quarter during the second, and once a quarter thereafter. Its main role during the first year will be to focus management’s attention on the new venture business plan which was the basis for the company’s foundation. It should be prepared to change that plan if it is in the best interests of the investors to do so, but it should consult with the investors first. Usually, such changes are in relation to the revenue or expense budgets. For example, if product shipments (and therefore revenues) are likely to be delayed, the expenses should probably be cut back. On the other hand, if they are above the projections in the original business plan and a higher expense level is justified, the board should call for an entirely new budget. Above all, the board should keep a close eye on how the bookings are materializing and management must make this visible in their reports to the board.
How We Can Help
In addition to hands-on knowledge transfer, executive mentoring, and the development and implementation of various management processes, we can also help recruit good candidates for various executive-level and board positions. The ways and means by which we can help vary widely depending on the client and their circumstances. From experience, the following issues are those which we often encounter, and for which we can help:
Development of the Board of Directors: defining the role of the board of directors, developing appropriate positions for each, identifying do’s and don’ts for directors, and general implementation. We can also build a “Toolkit for the Director”.
Development of Business Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting Systems: we can help put in place a business planning process including a budgeting and forecasting system. Many Canadian technology firms are poor at forecasting, although many are fairly good at budgeting.
Development of the President: our assistance to the president often focuses on the issue of establishing the right span of control and delegation issues. Another frequent issue is establishing and maintaining open communications with the board, as well as a range of human resources issues. We can also build a “Toolkit for the Chief Executive Officer”.
Development of the Corporate Structure: we can help identify and implement the right reporting structures, and introduce specific mechanisms for maintaining an innovative culture within the organization.