It’s All About The Team

“It’s all about the team,” my friend said to me over lunch recently.

He was recounting the findings of a local accelerator leader who increasingly sees the connection between startup failure and startup success – a tight team.

This may not seem like a revelation to some of you. But, it certainly isn’t what makes the headlines of Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, and Forbes. Rarely does the cover say, “X Team Disrupts Y industry.”

So, when I was asked to be a judge at Miami University’s 2017 Spring Semester Startup Business Idea Pitch Competition I was excited. Miami has a great entrepreneurship program and the students and their pitches at this competition were A M A Z I N G. And, they do a fantastic job of helping the students understand the compounding impact of teamwork.

So, naturally, given my focus on the transition From Founder To CEO, I was eager to see signs of “tight teams” during the pitch.

Do you know what I noticed? The Startup CEOs that did the best included at least one or more of these elements in their pitch.

  • They included a slide in their “pitch deck” with the team members’ photo, role, and in some cases a unique characteristic.
  • They invited their team members to the front of the room to participate in the pitch.
  • They introduced their team members and highlighted the strengths each brought to the entrepreneurial problem they were attempting to solve.
  • They deferred to their team member to discuss an element they were the best spokesperson for.

In my experience, these are all the hallmarks of future success…respect for the team. Yes, I know the product or service needs to be good and product-market fit is essential.

But, in reality “it’s all about the team,” as my friend pointed out.

And, if you are not in the habit of putting them front and center when you pitch, what makes you think you’ll do so when times are tough and you need their unwavering dedication, support, and loyalty.

The quicker you realize that a Startup CEO is a Startup Team Leader, the quicker you’ll turn pitches into profits.

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