The 5 Key Meetings Every Small Business Needs (With Meeting Templates)

Donald Miller

Published: Apr 19, 2024

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Growing a small business is hard work. You've got to keep your team organized and your projects moving smoothly. But when things get disorganized, it's not just bad for your bottom line—team morale takes a hit, too. To tackle this, we suggest a simple but powerful idea: running your small business with just 5 key meetings.

Now you might be thinking, "I’m already swamped with meetings, how can adding more meetings help?" 

These 5 meetings are different because they're designed to replace all those other time-wasting meetings, freeing up time for you and your team.

Leading a growing team is a huge challenge and can be costly if it goes wrong. Large companies have figured out how to keep their teams organized and focused, which helps them stay on a growth trajectory. Small businesses, on the other hand, often make it up as they go along. Which is why they stay small.

If you're tired of managing chaos, it’s time to simplify running your business into 5 essential meetings. 

Let's explore these meetings and see how they can transform your business into a well-oiled machine, making your team more motivated and your business more successful.

1. The All-Staff Meeting

The All-Staff Meeting is your longest meeting, happening every Monday morning. My team meets every Monday at 10:00 a.m. This is when your entire team, whether they're physically present or joining online, aligns on the company's direction. This meeting targets 3 main objectives:

  • Focus on Priorities: Open each meeting by reading through your Mission Statement to remind everyone about the 3 economic priorities your business is aiming to achieve. This keeps your team on the same page about what matters most. If you don’t know your 3 economic priorities, check out this article on how to write a great Mission Statement.

  • Share Updates: Different departments share what they've been working on and their wins. It's a way to make sure everyone knows about the great progress being made across the company.

  • Celebrate Contributions: This is where you’ll ask for “shout-outs” and celebrate team members who've gone above and beyond, or have exemplified your company’s values. Acknowledging hard work boosts morale and makes everyone feel appreciated.

This meeting lasts about 45 minutes to an hour and is all about keeping the energy up and making everyone feel aligned around shared goals and connected to your mission.

If you're running your business without a traditional team and instead rely on contractors, ask them to join your All-Staff Meeting. You can call this meeting anything you like. Even if you can't make attendance mandatory, especially in the U.S., many contractors will be open to joining these meetings voluntarily. They understand that being in the loop with your company's goals, challenges, and achievements can help them align their work more closely with your needs, ultimately leading to more efficient and effective collaboration. It benefits your workflow and strengthens the relationship with the people you hire externally.

The best way to make sure the meeting runs smoothly each week is to use a meeting agenda template that you’ll fill out before the meeting. Using this template makes sure the meeting is thoughtfully planned and stays aligned with the economic priorities.

Below is an example of the All-Staff Meeting Template:

All-Staff Meeting Template

2. The Leadership Meeting

The Leadership Meeting is where you and your key team leaders come together, typically right after the All-Staff Meeting. In businesses with separate departments, this weekly meeting is invaluable. It provides space for those who lead different parts of your business to present their department’s progress and seek support to overcome challenges. Sometimes leaders can feel isolated in their roles, but getting together each week helps build a strong team feeling from the top down. 

In this meeting, you will:

  • Discuss primary initiatives: This is your chance to look at the major initiatives and projects underway. You'll talk about what's working, what's not, and how to keep pushing forward.

  • Address roadblocks to economic objectives: Every leader might face obstacles that slow down progress. This meeting allows you all to bring up these challenges and work together to find solutions, making sure nothing stands in the way of your goals.

  • Align on strategic direction: You’ll use a dedicated template to ensure this meeting remains efficient and on-point. It's your chance to zero in on overarching strategies, identify hurdles, and brainstorm solutions without wasting precious time.

For smaller businesses, you might blend the Leadership Meeting with the All-Staff Meeting. But keep in mind, though the participants stay the same, changing the agenda highlights the shift from broad team updates to focused leadership discussions. Using separate templates for each meeting segment keeps the dialogue structured and goal-oriented.

Below is an example of the Leadership Meeting Template:

Leadership Meeting

3. The Department Stand-Up

The Department Stand-Up is a quick, daily meeting that becomes essential as your business grows and forms different departments. Sales, marketing, design, development, production, and customer service are all examples of departments inside of a small, growing business. 

A Stand-up is held every day there isn't an All-Staff Meeting. It’s led by your department directors and designed to keep each team nimble and focused on what matters most. This is the perfect time for team members to bring up any roadblocks they're facing. Together, the team can quickly brainstorm solutions, making sure nothing slows down their progress.

Keep these meetings short and sweet, usually less than 15 minutes, so everyone can get back to work with a clear idea of what needs to be done. 

To keep these meetings effective, use the Department Stand-Up template for every Stand-up meeting. If you don’t, your meetings could run long and become unproductive. Below is an example of the Department Stand-Up Meeting Template:

Department Stand-Up Meeting Template

4. The Personal Priority Speed Check

The Personal Priority Speed Check is a brief, 1-on-1 meeting that offers tailored feedback and support to each team member. Lasting about 15 minutes, these weekly check-ins are a chance for department heads to connect individually with team members, focusing on their specific roles and contributions.

During these sessions, you’ll discuss how their work aligns with the company’s goals, address any challenges they’re facing, and offer guidance to help them improve. 

Before the meeting, team members fill out a form about what they're working on. This makes sure you talk about the most important things. These meetings are great for making each employee feel recognized and valued. They also help maintain open lines of communication, ensuring that everyone feels supported in their role and clear about how they contribute to the company's success.

Below is the Personal Priority Speed Check meeting template:

Personal Priority Speed Check

5. Quarterly Performance Reviews

Quarterly performance reviews are fantastic for any size business. Even if you're running a small team, don't wait to implement these reviews. Your team members need to feel seen and understood by their leaders. And regular performance reviews create a safe space where they know how they're doing and where they stand.

Using a performance review meeting template, both the team member and their leader jot down thoughts on performance before the meeting. This sparks an honest chat about expectations vs. reality. Sometimes a team member might think they're killing it while feeling unsure in other areas. These reviews are the perfect time to clear the air, offer praise, and figure out where to grow.

Quarterly reviews set the stage for success, including potential raises and bonuses. As your team grows, linking these reviews to compensation makes sense. It can help give your staff clear expectations and something tangible to aim for, which can be incredibly motivating. When a team member feels in control of their financial future, they’re more likely to love their job.

Below is an example of the Quarterly Performance Review Meeting Template:

Quarterly Performance Review Meeting Template

Plan better meetings quickly with fillable templates

By putting these 5 key meetings into action, along with their specific agendas, you'll see a big difference in how your business operates, bringing everyone closer to success. 

Remember that the secret to good meetings lies in solid preparation and clear objectives. With our fillable meeting agenda templates, you're equipped to plan and execute meetings that save time and motivate your team.

To get started, access easy-to-use, fillable versions of all our meeting agenda templates here: