While the founder, or co-founders, of a startup are crucial to its success, the entire team behind a startup are fundamental in determining its future as well. As the old saying goes, "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link." And, that's what potential investors will be looking at too.
As you prepare your meeting with investors, here will be the 10 traits that they will be looking if you want to secure funding.
1. Skills and Talent
If you and your team aren't competent enough to run a startup then why would anyone invest in your startup? Investors have to see that the entire team has what it takes to turn an idea into a successful business. They need to know the qualifications of each member and what they bring to the business.
Having a team that is knowledgeable, willing to learn and can handle multi-responsibilities are all positive traits that will impress investors. Would investors trust a team that is comprised of five engineers or the team that includes an engineer, designer and marketer?
Experience can go a long way in winning over investors. If your team members have prior experience in your field, or have been involved with a startup in the past, it shows that you have knowledge in your market and are tenacious enough to complete goals.
Investors are looking for team members that can work together towards a common goal states Investor John Rampton. If the team can't play nice together, then how can investors be certain that the goals and objectives of the startup are going to be completed in time? Furthermore, a startup team must be able to work with people outside of the team. Startups are going to have to work with investors, the media and customers. It only takes that one member to rub a customer the wrong way to give the startup a bad reputation.
4. Problem Solvers
During the day to day operations of a startup there are going to be problems to overcome. That's why it's extremely important to have team who are either critical, creative or strategic thinkers. Members with these traits have the ability to solve any problems that your startups are facing. More importantly, it also illustrates to investors that your team consists of people who can develop amazing ideas.
5. Understands the Market
Whether your team has previous experience with your industry or at least knows how to conduct research, your team members must demonstrate to investors that they have a clear understanding of the market. By understanding the market, your team knows where the startup going and how to get there.
Team members should have intuition on important matters regarding the startup--such as knowing when it's time to keep fighting or when it's time to shut down operations. The last thing that investors want is a startup team that wastes their time and money because the team didn't understand that they've gone past the point of launching a successful startup.
What good can come from a founder who can't explain their product or service to investors or customers? How can you expect team members to accomplish tasks if management can't articulate what they want completed? Communication among team members and the outside world is a vital trait if a startup wants to share their vision.
Every great entrepreneur has traits like motivation, persistence and will power. And the same can be said of the the team. Each member needs to have a let's do attitude and complete tasks, goals and objectives at on time without being reminded all of the time. On top of that, a startup team should always be working on projects just for kicks.
9. They're a Part of the Culture
Your team has to live and breath the startup. They have to embrace the founder's vision and be committed to the startup 100%. It will be the members of the startup that will be the businesses first brand advocates and the first to spread the word. If team members don't believe in a startup, how can the market jump on board?
10. Willingness to Relocate
While technology has made it easy and convenient for team members to keep in touch--thanks Skype-, there's nothing quite like bouncing ideas off of each other face-to-face. In fact, when team members are scattered in different areas of the world, it makes it more difficult for the "collision of ideas" (this is an idea from Steven Johnson's book "Where Good Ideas Come From"). Besides the exchanging of ideas with team members, having every member in close proximity to each other makes it easy to meet with investors and/or mentors. Just imagine trying to make last minute travel plans when a meeting suddenly pops-up.