Question: Investors always talk about people. What key quality are they really looking for in a founding team?
The Ability to Listen Is an Invaluable Skill
"Yes, entrepreneurs need to be passionate, act quickly and be bulletproof. But what they really need to know is how to listen. Listen to the advice of investors. Listen to the feedback from customers. Listen to differing viewpoints from team members. Action is important, but it's the listening that informs the best and most successful actions."
A Willingness to Work Is Highly Valued
"Investors like seeing progress and results. If you can demonstrate that you get things done quickly, then you'll show them you're serious about your venture and you're willing to put in the work to move the business forward. Share your progress and lessons learned between your first and second meeting with the investor, and you'll be off to a great start."
Experience Is Key
"Investors obviously want to see passion, adaptability and good team dynamics. Some want a certain mix of skills. But most importantly, the reality is that most investors willing to open to their wallets want to see a team that's been successful before. That's a huge indicator of future success, especially in the startup world. Showcase your wins -- even the small ones."
Envisioning Success Brings Success
"Whether your startup is comprised of a team or just yourself, you must always have an eye on the future. Business models often need to adapt to a changing environment. The best way to make yourself attractive to an investor is to show them that you have a vision and are positioned to transform based on current and changing market conditions."
Team Chemistry Is More Important Than Size
"A talented team with chemistry and drive can overcome almost any obstacle to find success. A passionate, driven team can outperform a team 40 times its size that is not passionate about its work. "
Problem-Solving Skills Are a Must
"Investors seek teams they believe are able to solve the complex problems that inhibit every young company. A lean team lacks all of the skills and insight needed to overcome hurdles. Be willing to seek out answers from advisers and other entrepreneurs -- even from the competition -- and you will demonstrate that you have the ability to succeed. "