7 Things I Look For In the Person Behind the Startup

If you want to secure any kind of backing for your business, you need to understand that there’s more to inspiring the confidence of your potential partners, collaborators, and investors than just showing your business is profitable, scalable, and ready to go to market.

There’s no doubt that those things are important, it’s crucial that you demonstrate that you have the personality traits needed to lead a business that will return a profit.

While every investor is different and may value certain qualities over others, but broadly speaking, there are universal traits that many of us agree on.

Curious what I look for in the person behind the startup?

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I'm Kelly Keenan Trumpbour, Angel Investor and venture capitalist, and today in this video I'll talk about seven things I look for in the person behind the startup.

Before I back a company, I need to see a certain spark in the person running the show. The CEO, the business owner, the founder. What they bring to the company is so important, and their personality traits say a lot about what I can expect from them and the business they plan to run. I've had companies come before me and they have excellent business plans. They tick every box that I'm looking for in terms of a company, but if the CEO isn't delivering on a personal front, if they can't execute, if there's just something missing in their personality, I can't invest. I have to walk away.

Number one, tenacity. It's so crucial. You have a long distance to go, this is a marathon. If you don't have what it takes to see your company through all the way to profitability, especially after taking on my investment, I have to walk away.

Number two, realistic. If you're not realistic about the business environment you're entering, the business that you've created, I can't help you. Expect success but prepare for rejection. There's so many variables out in the market, it's natural to be worried and scared about what's really out there. That's a good thing. I'd rather you be realistic than just want approval for being special and sparkly. Show me that you're aware of reality, and I'm much more likely to invest in you.

Confidence is crucial. You've heard me talk about it lots of times. It's so important that the person leading the business has the confidence to see this business through. It's all about execution. You'll hear investors talk about it a lot. Who is driving the business is responsible for seeing it through. If you aren't confident and you need other people backing you up all the time, we're worried that you won't actually get the business to take off the way it needs to.

It's also really important that you're resilient. When you come into the startup world, there's a lot of rejection. If you can't take rejection, if it's too hard to hear, maybe it's not the right place for you, and that's okay. But this is really tough, there's lots of competition. If you can't kind of bend and move with all the different changes that are going to come your way, if you can't have a little bit of resilience, you're not going to make it.

It's also really important that you can be thick skinned. This is a high-stakes game, if you showed up to play then you have to understand that it's not always fair who does and doesn't get investment. Does that mean you should accept degrading treatment? Absolutely not. But the investors in the room are under no obligation to fund you, so if not getting funding is going to hurt your feelings or crush your dreams, this isn't the right arena for you.

Being perceptive. If you can really think about your audience, whether it's an investor, a partner, a collaborator, if you can hear your pitch from their standpoint, you will have such an advantage. So many people that I hear pitch want me to hear their pitch about their product like I'm their consumer. I'm not their consumer, I'm their investor. It's so important that you have the perception to know the subtle differences between why someone is and isn't really interested in your company.

Sometimes when you're not focused, it looks like you're biting off more than you can chew. That's a warning sign to investors. We're concerned that maybe you have commitment issues. Maybe you don't know your business so well. Maybe you're afraid that if you focus on one thing, you won't want to stay with it long enough. If you can't do that and pick one thing, we can't pick you.

The bottom line is that the person presenting is on trial as much as the business itself. I'm looking at your personality traits and I want to see you shine. I want to know what drives you as much as what you think is driving the business. When I see things like resilience, tenacity, an understanding of reality, and the willingness to focus and commit to what you believe is your core vision. If I see that, I'm more likely to be excited about your pitch, want to learn more about your company, and maybe talk about you to other investors.

Want to know what I might think of your business idea?

Then head on over to www.seejaneinvest.com/investmentpotential to take my free quiz now, or click the link below this video.

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Until next week


Miss last week’s post? Check it out here: The Surprising Upsides of Being Sh*t Scared.

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