Early Founders Should Email Updates Regularly

I recently got an update email from a founder I haven’t spoken with in months. He sends them out every month to a distribution list. They’re pretty good, and this one put his company back at the top of my mind.

Update emails are a simple yet powerful tool that can benefit early-stage founders. They help with accountability and focus and they remind outsiders that the company exists. The exercise of creating the email is good for founders because it forces them to reflect on the most important things that have happened and how the company’s KPIs or other metrics look.

These emails don’t have to be long or dense. The more concise the better, in fact. I’ve seen founders create a template and change only key pieces of information each time. Most importantly, these emails should be consistent and truthful. Pick a time interval (I’d suggest monthly at a minimum) and stick to it. Sporadic updates with constantly changing formats and KPIs give the impression that the company or founder is unfocused.

Updates shouldn’t be all about everything that’s going well. Running a startup is hard, and things are constantly going wrong. Share those things, too. When you’re open about where you need help, it’s easier for people to help you. And people will tend to trust you if they feel they’re getting the complete story. If you say your startup never struggles, people won’t believe you.

If you’re an early-stage founder, consider asking people you meet with (at the end of the meeting) if you can add them to your update email list. And send regular updates to everyone on it.