An often overlooked aspect of putting together a team to develop a new service or product is the management personnel that will oversee the project. Many companies choose their management team from their personal or professional network of acquaintances, which makes sense to a degree. However, what many business owners overlook when building their management team is how investors will view their team.
Describing the Team
It is not enough to simply demonstrate experience, If you are looking for funding from a federal or private source, you will need to explain what each member of the team will be responsible for and who each member of the team will report to. Demonstrating that you have a clear plan in place for a division of labor between team members and accountability will make your team more appealing to funders and increase chances of receiving an award in the case of federal funding or an investment in the case of private funding.
An employee could have a resume the size of an encyclopedia, but that does not mean they have the specific skill set the funder is looking for. This is often the case in the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. Many companies are rejected not because their idea isn’t great or their team isn’t strong, but because no one in their management team has been awarded SBIR before. (This is especially true in the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Private investors too may have concerns about specific experiences the management team may have such as successfully commercializing products in the past or successfully sold their company through an exit.
When there is no one available to join the team that has the experience the funder is looking for, consider hiring an advisor with the desired skill set and experience. This will often improve the chances of getting funded even if the management team itself lacks experience in the specified area.
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