Over the next few weeks, I’ll post drafts of chapters from an upcoming book on planning new ventures. Please add comments below as you see fit.
A little while back, I outlined a business plan pitch deck. Today, we’ll start with the first slide: Your team.
Your pitch is a story. You’ve got to hook the audience on the first slide, and keep them on the line all the way until the end. You only have one chance to do that with each pitch recipient.
The story starts with why you (and any other members of your founding team) are ideally suited to capitalize on the opportunity and strategy you are about to disclose. Why? Savvy investors look at teams before anything else, because without a strong team, a startup doesn’t have much of a chance.
Briefly profile each founder, pointing out roles, titles, knowledge, expertise, and credentials. You can also note whether a founder has a broad network of industry contacts, and share any particularly impressive anecdotes.
As you describe your background, explain how you came to develop the idea for your business. That works well if your background makes you particularly knowledgeable about the field—for example, if you learned about this opportunity while working in the industry. If you’ve worked with another member of the team before, that’s another good thing to point out. If the team has worked together well enough to want to do it again, that’s one less risk to worry about.
After profiling the founders, explain any critical roles you’ll need to fill to round out the team, and show that you’ve thought about the job specs carefully. It’s much better to say “we need a person like this, and we’ve got a job description put together and are interviewing candidates” than to give the impression that you’ve got your core team together when you don’t.
 The exception to this rule is if you are pitching to very close friends or family members, and you will be the only person on the team.