HAVE YOU ASSESSED THE SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, CONTACTS AND EXPERIENCE THAT YOUR TEAM BRINGS TO THE BUSINESS?
"PEOPLE ARE DEFINITELY A COMPANY'S GREATEST ASSET. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE WHETHER THE PRODUCT IS CARS OR COSMETICS. A COMPANY IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE IT KEEPS" - MARY KAY ASH
As you go through the process of developing your idea into a business there is one major resource that you should not overlook; your team. When investors invest in a business, they are primarily investing in the people.
As an early stage business, the team may currently consist of just you, or the business may be composed of a group of people; regardless of which applies, it is important to evaluate the knowledge, skills and track record that you (as a business) currently have.
The commercialisation process requires a team with a combination of skills. While the specific skill set required ultimately depends on the industry you’re in, it may include: technology skills, ‘hustling skills’ (in search of the business model, customers and market), design skills, long term vision and product strategy skills (‘visionary’ skills), financial skills, etc.
Most people are good at one or two of these, but it’s extremely rare to find someone who possesses all these skills. Therefore use this module to evaluate the skills, knowledge and track record of your team to identify key strengths and weaknesses.
Investors typically look for the following qualities in an entrepreneurial team:
- Prior experience in the industry or market.
- Prior entrepreneurial experience.
- A well-established, broad social network.
- Specific technical and personal skills.
- Shared values and vision.
- Complementary personal characteristics.
"THE TEAM COMPOSITION MATTERS AS MUCH OR MORE THAN THE PRODUCT IDEA" - STEVE BLANK
It is important to consider the overall dynamics of your team and how it operates as a unit.
- Do you have clear vision for your idea / business and is this shared by the team?
- Do you have the required mix of skills (technical, financial, marketing etc.) to commercialise your idea?
- Is the team committed to the project? Have they taken responsibility for developing the idea and meeting milestones?
- Does the team work well together? Is there a dominant leader and compatible personalities?
Your team should have a thorough knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the mechanics of the problem you are solving, and a solid foundation of market and customer knowledge.
Through the research you have undertaken as part of the 8 modules, your team should have a thorough understanding of:
- The market landscape and trends.
- The regulatory environment and how it impacts on your business/idea both now and in the future.
- The customer segments you are targeting. This information should be composed of both quantitative information (the size of the target market) and qualitative information (their needs, tastes and buying behaviour).
- Technical aspects of your idea – ranging from the technology and materials, to manufacturing and production.
- Prior art (e.g. patents) in the area of your idea/business as well as a thorough knowledge of your competitors and their offerings.
- Other relevant areas specific to your business.
Assess what your team brings to the business in terms of their track record - particularly in undertaking and executing projects of a similar scale
Identify any key contacts and networks that your team have established relationships with. Consider the following:
- Does your team have valuable and relevant contacts that could be beneficial in moving your business forward?
- Does the company have an advisory board in place for the project?
- Do you use sector or industry working groups to enrich your commercial network?
- Do you have access to business advisors and mentors that can provide advice and support?
EXERCISE 1 - TEAM SWOT ANALYSIS
Exercise Template (Download)
A SWOT analysis allows you to look at the Strenths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
To determine the strenghts and weaknesses you have to look at internal factors such as the qualities of the team and each individual team member, including expertise, track record and network, Opportunities and threats come from external factors, such as the potential of someone new joining you, people being poached by other companies, new employment laws being implemented, or potential illnesses and changing family circumstances.
Produce a SWOT analysis using the template provided. There is no right or wrong answers.