February 15, 2017

Documents All Startups Need

The CEO job requires (again, requires) some essential administration and the discipline to develop (or have developed) certain base level information to help you run the company and attract customers and investors (and them keep them informed).  Having these base level documents is not a nice-to-have, but a must-have for your success.  Here is a list of potential materials that you should begin to assemble and keep current.  These documents should tie together into a cohesive bundle.  They are listed in no particular order:

  • Company purpose and vision
  • Industry problems that you address (from the buyer’s perspective) and why you are better than alternatives)
  • Elevator pitch
  • Features and benefits of product
  • Obstacles you will face and objections you will get
  • Target market
  • Ideal customer criteria
  • Market position
  • Defensible differentiation
  • Sales forecast (prospects, by expected close month, with estimated revenue by subscription and services), probability of close, steps required to close)
  • Loss report (why prospects didn’t buy)
  • Current year budget
  • Five-year financial forecast by month
  • Key metrics that will drive the company and that you will measure regularly
  • Monthly financial reporting package including actuals, budget, current forecast with variances and current year waterfall table with key metrics. If you don’t know what a waterfall table is, contact me)
  • Product plan for the next x years
  • Employee on-boarding plan and certification (particularly sales people)
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Cap Table
  • Sales (and services) contracts for buyers
  • New employee expectations 30, 60, 90, 180 and 365 days by job function
  • Stock Option Plan
  • One page business plan or strategy document that shows how you will win in your market. (Some companies use the Blue Ocean Strategy guidelines).  “Hope is not a strategy”.
  • Meeting notes/minutes from prior board meetings (if any)

We may have missed some, but you get the idea.

For more information on developing these materials, please contact us.