This fourth item in my occasional “help me to help you” series focuses on your team.
Most investors regard the presence of a credible team with a track record of success as critical. This is a challenge for entrepreneurs with insufficient experience and who lack the funds to attract a team at an early stage. A one person business is a tricky proposition – you need a team.
In Accelerate to Growth mode, we are looking for a well-rounded team that is able to manage the business. People within the business should cover the main functional requirements. The investment sought should develop the team further, and we’re looking to support accelerated commercial traction, to drive the business toward substantial sales.
The needs of entrepreneurs in Accelerate to Sales mode are very different. Most businesses come to us with an incomplete line-up. It’s a catch-22, where you need investment to attract the team, but you need the team to attract investment. There’s no single answer, but here’s a quick guide:
- Make sure that the inventor / entrepreneur doesn’t come across as a ‘one-man band’. There are several jobs that need adequate resourcing
- It’s hard to be both operational CEO and fund-raising chairman – try finding a sympathetic industry insider as Chairman or Non-Executive Director and remember that fund-raising takes a lot of time which mustn’t detract from the business.
- Contractors and part-timers are ok if they’re good, but full-time staff will be better
- Think through the main functions of the business (technology development, operations, finance, sales and marketing) and line up people who will be ready to join when investment materialises.
- Include an organisation chart in your Business Plan and CVs as an appendix
Try thinking of it from an investor’s perspective. Whilst we are keen to support businesses as active investors, we’re not looking to be the company entirely. Our preferred mode of operation is to provide sufficient cash and hands-on expert resource to accelerate the business over a period of 6-24 months. During that time, we can help you to recruit the staff you need to take the company forward with us becoming more ‘non-executive’ and leaving you strengthened.
So when you come to us, tell us what support you need right now, and let’s plan the next steps together.