KoiTip #04 - Success needs a superb team

Many entrepreneurs think a good idea will ensure success. Then they present their idea to an investor and get the response below:

Investors know that ideas are just pieces of paper, and that it will take a huge amount of work to turn your idea into a success - and for that you will need a very good team!

Success will need many skills

I once watched a video covering all the skills a great leader needs. I was doing well until they got to financial skills. It didn't get better! The punchline of the video though was this: Many skills are needed to build a great business. No one person has all these skills. But you can build a team that has all the skills needed.

Make sure that you build a team that has all the skills your venture needs. Many of the startups I mentor lack vital skills they needed to succeed, because they all have the same set of skills. One startup for example had superb skills in many areas, but could not do marketing to save their lives. Bringing in another person with these skills made a huge difference.

Surface the soft stuff early

Many teams start out well - but when things take off and the pressure is on, the fighting starts. Take time at the beginning to surface all the soft factors and work these out. For example, Luthando and Sipho launch a startup together as 50/50 partners. Luthando is married with kids, Sipho is single. Months down the line when the work is piling up, Sipho is unhappy about being only a 50% shareholder when he works till midnight every night, while Luthando leaves at 5 to go home to his family. Use a skilled facilitator at the beginning (if you're in the Cape I can recommend Mignon Keyser) to help you surface and work through all these things before the going gets tough.

Bring in older people

I was very fortunate to have two much older partners in my first venture (Uwe is eighteen years older than me, and his brother Reinhard thirty years older; above, catching up last year). I was a brash young man with great technical skills and not much else. They taught me a tremendous amount and had the many skills I lacked. Together we made a formidable team. Today there are many retired executives with superb skills who are bored with golf who could be enticed into joining an exciting startup, especially one that is working...