Getting funding isn’t just about having a great idea and writing a good proposal anymore. If the team behind a startup isn’t skilled or experienced, it can hurt the startup's chances of getting the funds they need. Funders look at the startup’s team closely because they know a strong team can turn a good idea into a successful business.
Why is the team so important? Firstly, a strong project idea doesn’t just come out of nowhere. It’s created and made better by a group of people working well together towards the same goal. Secondly, having an idea is just the beginning. It’s the team’s job to make that idea come to life and turn it into a business that makes money and has a positive impact.
The key question is - How does a startup team influence their chances of success?
1. Good teams boost the Startup’s Ability to Adapt
Markets change quickly, and unexpected challenges can pop up. A startup’s ability to adapt and respond effectively to these challenges is often linked to the strength of its team. Funders want to invest in teams that can swiftly turn problems into opportunities without wasting resources. A team that can adapt, learn, and grow from difficulties gives funders the confidence that their investment is safe and well-placed.
2. A good team fortifies the Startup with a range of skills
Running a successful startup requires various skills. Having a team where each member is an expert in a different area can greatly improve a startup’s efficiency and chances of success. It’s like a school where different teachers specialize in different subjects, leading to better learning outcomes for students.
Funders are more likely to invest in startups with a diverse team of experts. This mix of skills not only shows that the team is capable but also assures funders that the project has a higher chance of being executed successfully and yielding returns.
3. Good teams offer deeper market Insights
Understanding the market and industry is key to attracting funding. A team well-versed in the nuances of their target audience can be a game-changer. For example, imagine a fintech startup with someone like Olugbenga Agboola (CEO/Co-founder of Unicorn, Flutterwave) on the team. Having an industry veteran with extensive insights not only enriches the company’s strategy but also impresses funders. They are looking for teams equipped with in-depth knowledge, ensuring that their investment will be used to create solutions that truly resonate with the market.
4. Good teams bring connections and partnerships
Experience often comes with valuable connections. A team with established names is likely to have networks that can open doors to new opportunities and collaborations. For instance, having Bosun Tijani (Nigerian minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy) on your advisory board, is akin to listing powerhouse names like Google or Mastercard as partners. For funders, such affiliations underscore the startup’s credibility and amplify its potential for success.
5. Good teams enhance the Startup’s Credibility
A common hurdle for startups is the lack of a proven track record. It’s something that funders often scrutinize. However, a team with members who have chalked up impressive achievements in their previous roles can offset this challenge.
Imagine a football academy that boasts Ronaldo and Messi as part of its team or advisory board. Their stellar careers and achievements speak volumes, instantly elevating the academy’s standing. In the same way, a startup with team members who have been successful in previous ventures, whether as solopreneurs, corporate professionals, or academics, presents a compelling case to funders.
Such a team, rich in experience and achievements, not only adds weight to the startup’s credibility but also reassures funders of its potential to deliver remarkable results.
Crafting the Ideal Startup Team
Knowing the immense benefits a robust team brings to your startup, the question then morphs into “how.” How do you weave together a group of individuals that isn’t just a team, but the right team? Do these 2 things:
1. Spot and Fortify Your Weaknesses
Your first step is introspection. Acknowledge that as a founder, your skill set, though vast, has its boundaries. Pinpoint your strengths, but more importantly, illuminate your weaknesses.
Suppose you’re a tech whiz at the helm of a fintech startup but find business strategy or operational management to be alien terrain. In that case, your quest is to find individuals whose prowess in these domains eclipses yours.
Your goal is a team where every member is a pillar, turning your weak spots into fortresses of strength and capability.
2. Choose Commitment Over Credentials
As you sift through potential candidates, commitment should be your compass. It’s not uncommon for funders to be wary of startups. They’re more likely to back a startup with a team of individuals ready to plunge into the uncertain waters of startup revenue and still stay the course.
It’s not just about having a resume glittered with qualifications; it’s about having individuals who are anchored in the vision of the startup.
In Conclusion: Your Team, Your Edge
Navigating the path to grant funding is tough but having the right team turns hurdles into stepping stones. We’ve highlighted how a skilled team not only enriches your proposal but is often a deciding factor for funders. Remember, a team that complements your weaknesses and exudes commitment is your ticket to attracting funding. Need a tailored fit? Consider tapping into the wisdom of seasoned professionals in the field.