Board evolution over time

Setting up your board of directors is not a one-and-done endeavor. Your board’s composition will no doubt change over time as members come and go—and at certain key junctures in your company’s life cycle, you may need to nudge that evolution along.

The makeup of your board should change as your company scales from a young organization seeking to develop a meaningful product to a more mature startup in high-growth mode. At the early stages, certain board members may be valuable in your quest for product/market fit or your next round of funding. Later, though, you will need board members with operating experience, a network of potential later-stage executive hires, and broader strategic insights.

We’ll talk more about how to ask private company board members to step down in the next section (TL;DR: It’s hard to pull off). But whether you’re building a board for the first time, or simply adding a new member, always come back to these “hiring” guidelines. Whatever your company’s stage, bringing someone onto your board is a critical decision—one that can help the company, founders, and executives mature, or one that will cause frustrating headaches.