July 5, 2006

Finding your Dream Team

The decision about whether a business plan has potential is an easy one for most investors. Whether a management team can successfully implement the plan is often the more difficult question for investor. Part of the due diligence process involves not only looking into validity of the business plan, but also assessing the management team.

Meeting one-on-one with potential partners is a terrific place to begin the process of assessing a management team. These meetings can provide you with a sense of the personality and drive of an entrepreneur. However, you need to be cautious. Everyone wants to appear in the best possible light. Entrepreneurs may fail to divulge negative information that would impact your decision whether to invest or not.

Requesting complete resumes from all members of a management team is a vital step to obtain the information you want. Interviews with other contacts close to management should be conducted. While there is not a formula for what makes a stellar management team, you should assess the following areas:

1.    Leadership. Do members of the management team possess strong leadership qualities? Are they the type of people others will follow?
2.    Coachability. Are members of the management team teachable? Can they take direction/guidance and implement it into their business plan when necessary?
3.    Commitment. Is the management team committed to the business idea? Will they do everything ethically possibly to make the idea succeed?
4.    Areas of weakness or gaps in the team. Do the strength and weakness of team members compliment one another? Is there an area where the management team is lacking in knowledge or expertise?
5.    Trustworthiness. Are the principals trustworthy? Do you have confidence in the ability of management to act in an ethical and respectable manner?
6.    Credit background checks. What does the credit report of the management team look like?
7.    Criminal background checks. Does any member of the management team have a criminal record?

Remember, what one investor may find appealing about a management team may drive off another. Based on your experiences and preferences, you should determine, individually, what an extraordinary management team is comprised of.

Good Luck!




Web 2.0: Making the Web Work for You

Individual angels and angel groups are becoming increasingly technology savvy. Investors are creating their own websites and online communities. Difficult to reach investors are using the internet with ease.

Because of the recent focus on user-generated content on the web, end-users are now an integral part of many businesses. They are managing, changing and adapting the web to fit individual needs.

You have the ability to make the web work for you and your business. If used correctly, the web can help you achieve business success. Some of the web features that can assist you in your pursuit for funding include:

Virtual Office

Technological advances over the last ten years have made brick and mortar office almost unnecessary. A computer with internet access is all you need to work from virtually any location. This convenience allows you the ability to stay in contact with investors, your consumers, and members of your management team.

Automated PBX
Private Branch Exchange (PBX) is a telephone system that is owned by a private business rather than by a large telephone company. VoIP is a phone system that routes calls over an Internet connection. With this system a single telephone number can be used for an entire company regardless of where the offices are located. Employees have the ability to work from home using the same telephone number as someone working in another office. In addition, no hardware maintenance for this type of system is required.

Blogging
A blog, or an online journal, provides you with the opportunity to write about your product or service. If you have a new and innovative way of solving a problem, write about it in your blog. Use blogs to learn from other entrepreneurs. Search for the blogs written by investors involved in your sector of business. Taking the time to read these blogs can provide insight into the mind of an investor.

Podcasts
Like blogs, podcasting provides another way to tell your market about your product/service. Listen to podcasts from investors and other entrepreneurs. You have the ability to learn about the topic of your choosing. To listen to FundingUniverse.com’s podcasts click here.

This list is a brief glimpse at ways you can make the web work for you. Be creative. Think of additional ways you can use the web to achieve business success.

Good Luck!