These are indeed important, but we all know people who have failed, despite having a great solution, or have succeeded with a mediocre solution. Thus most investors I know claim to invest in the person, rather than the product.
In the same way, you may think that people assessment is all about skills and experience, but as a mentor to business owners, I have learned to look more for the right attitude, persistence, and determination, as success factors.
In his book You Can Win Shiv Khera details a step-by-step formula for becoming a top achiever in life, one I believe applies equally to success in business. In one of these steps, he outlines eight practices for building and maintaining a most critical positive attitude--all of which you can apply to your business.
1. Change focus, and accentuate the positives.
Start looking for what is right in a person or business situation, instead of looking for what is wrong. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize. Be an optimist, and give everyone a smile.
2. Make a habit of doing it now and celebrating completion.
We have all procrastinated at some time or another in our business lives, leading to a negative attitude and missed opportunities.
A completed task is fulfilling and energizing; and incomplete task drains energy. In today's fast moving pace of business change, tomorrow may be too late.
3. Develop an attitude of gratitude and humility.
Relationships and collaboration are most important in business. A great philosophy to live by is 'never forget what others have done for you and never remember what you have done for others.'
Count your blessings, and not your troubles. Celebrate every small win in business with your team.
4. Make your business a continuous learning process.
Too many business owners yearn for that stable point where the business runs like a machine, and there are no more changes. That fosters a lack of attention to new markets and new competitors, instead of an eagerness to learn and innovate.
Experience without learning is wasted effort.
5. Build high self-esteem in you and your team.
When people feel good about themselves, the business looks positive, productivity goes up, and relationships are a lot better. There are two kinds of people in business - givers and takers.
Takers can never get satisfaction, and they antagonize those around them. Only givers build self-esteem.
6. Stay away from negative influences in business.
Negative influences in business are usually team members or partners that don't have high self-esteem, and like to highlight negative implications to every business challenges.
Other influences to avoid include doom and gloom prognosticators, and work weeks that stretch through every weekend.
7. Learn to like the things that need to get done.
Some things need to be done whether we like them or not; for example, daily cash-flow analysis and business metrics.
Smart business executives learn to use new technology software to give them new insights and more free time. They see customer support as positive lessons to improve quality and processes.
8. Start your day with a positive business challenge.
After a good night's sleep we are relaxed and ready to review the good news, and take on the challenges of strategic issues. Save the daily crisis for later.
In order to bring about change, you must make a conscious effort to focus on positive thoughts and behavior in others, as well as yourself.
The most effective sequence is to get your attitude and team positive, even before you start the business. That's why smart investors, like the best ones in Silicon Valley, and the ones on Shark Tank, can tell a lot about the future success of a business, even before results.
Ask yourself: Am I working as hard on my own attitude, and the attitudes of people around me, as I am on the product?