I work with startups on a daily basis. Many of them think that if they have a solid business plan, then they can obtain the funding they need and be a successful company. Not true!

What makes a successful venture starts with a solid management team. Investors and Venture Capital invest in people first, not product. Why? Because if the product doesn’t work, they still have a highly skilled management team which they can realign into another product or venture.

You can have an outstanding product or idea, but without an experienced and well-rounded management team backing it up, the chance of success (whether in raising capital or running the business) significantly diminishes.

So as you prepare your business plan, examine your management team carefully and look for the following:

• Specific skills and experience in the applicable industry
• Funding and finance expertise and experience
• Leadership and management skills
• Startup skills: i.e. has successfully started, funded and grown a startup company
• Track record of success

Not every CEO or business owner is going to have all the necessary skills for a successful startup venture, so it is very important for that person to surround himself (or herself) with the skills and experience that is lacking.

Don’t just take on a member of the management team because they have money to bootstrap the venture. If the potential team member doesn’t have any skills or experience in the critical areas needed, then skip them (and the allure of money). Get the management team right and funding will come.

The single most important thing you can do for your startup, before you get very far down the road, is assemble the right team. With the right team in place, then everything is possible, with a good plan in place.

Sharpen up your networking skills and go find those crucial team players today!

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