Startup State of the Union Slide Deck

Early in the Pardot days, it was clear things were going well and we had something special. Only, we were inexperienced and didn’t know what we were doing (does anyone, really?). My concern was ensuring we grow faster than the market, and to do that we had to ensure our employees’ personal growth was even faster than our company growth. For me, my needed personal growth was around communications and company alignment.

To facilitate communications and company alignment, I focused on things like simple strategic plans, daily check-ins, weekly team update, weekly all-hands meetings, and monthly strategy dinners.

Recently, I was introduced to a new idea: the Startup State of the Union. Generally, the idea is to map out all parts of the business in a slide deck that is updated monthly and available to the team.

As an entrepreneur, you are a cartographer making the map, not following someone else’s map. The Startup State of the Union is your internal map.

Let’s take a look at what slides would go into the Startup State of the Union

  • Purpose / Vision
  • Simple Strategic Plan
  • Why Now, Why Us
  • Customer Testimonials
  • Product Screenshot
  • Technical Platform
  • Leadership Team
  • Board / Investors
  • Departments
    • Customer Service
      • Consider team, renewal processes, etc.
    • People Operations
      • Consider team, recruiting process, employee development process, etc.
    • Marketing
      • Consider team, definitions of qualified leads/accounts, ideal customer profile, tech stack, etc.
    • Sales
      • Consider team, AE + SDR + CSM alignment, territories, etc.
    • Finance
      • Consider team, financial forecasting process, etc.
    • Product
      • Consider team, product planning process, pricing/packaging, etc.
    • Technology
      • Consider team, development process, etc.

Overall, the big idea is to have an internal slide deck, updated regularly, that captures where the business is today, where it is going, and how it is run to get there.

Organizational alignment is hard, and only gets harder as the company grows. Consider a Startup State of the Union internal slide deck to capture the most important details and re-evaluate them regularly.

4 thoughts on “Startup State of the Union Slide Deck

  1. Hi David,

    As always, thank you for your insights.

    Given that you were busy back then, it is likely you would have had to trade in another tool to put this proposed tool into practice.

    Of the five you mentioned and possibly others you did not, what would you have sacrificed in order to get the value from a regular updated Startup State of the Union?


    1. Good question. It’d be context dependent based on company size, growth rate, market dynamics, etc. I’d recommend trying them all and seeing what’s more valuable to you.

  2. Hi David,

    I have been a subscriber since the days when you posted once a day. Always enjoy reading your thoughts.

    Hoping to get your feedback on a project that we developed for internal use and focuses on Marketing ROI. Earlier today, I had a call via Growth Mentor where the mentor from a marketing agency said that this solved a client issue he’s been working on for over two years and he also wanted to use this on his site. We’re almost ready … but not yet!

    With today’s validation, I am emboldened to reach out and would greatly appreciate if you (or anyone you recommend) might offer feedback via a quick Zoom call. If more convenient, I’d be happy to email screenshots with a summary.

    Before we make the big jump into developing this product for others, it would be amazing to get your feedback regarding potential product/market fit.

    Warm regards,

    1. Thanks for reaching out and congrats on making good progress on your internal project. I’m too far removed from marketing ROI related products to provide perspective on potential product/market fit. Please connect with me on LinkedIn and I’d be happy to forward your summary and screenshots to marketers that would be in the know.

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