One of the blessings and burdens of taking outside investments in a start-up is that you will be required to create a board of directors. Essentially, the investors coming into your start-up will take up some seats on the board and hence lessening your burden of having to fill up the board seats. In a nutshell, you will need people with deep market knowledge and company building expertise to occupy the board of directors. There are, however, a number of characters that you will need to look out for as you source for individuals to occupy the board;

The customer
This will be a person who understands the needs of your customers. He or she does not need to be your loyal customer but a person who understands the market you are dealing in.

The bad guy
This is the kind of person that will ensure the company is not taking chances while cutting corners. As such, he or she will push for total legal and ethical practices.

The geek
This will be the kind of person that will provide a reality check on say, your development efforts. If, for instance, you embark on a project to throw oranges in the air and expect them to remain in air, he or she will inform you how impossible that would be according to the laws of physics.

The ‘dad’ or ‘mom’
This will be the kind of person that will offer a calming influence on the board. Such are the people that are said to bring with them a sense of maturity and experience important in mediating issues and reach closure on problems.

A ‘Mr Connections’
In the Ugandan corporate circles, there are a number of common names in several boards especially for the listed companies. Some are said to be that way because of their connections to the government and even industry contacts. As such, a ‘Mr Connections’ will be that type of person with the given contacts and will be willing to utilise them for the benefit of the start-up.
Ultimately, setting up a board of directors for your start-up whether voluntarily or mandatory would be a step ahead in terms of successfully managing a start-up given that the founders endeavour to stick to these guidelines.

Paul Njuguna is a financial and cost accountant.