what do investors look for in a business pitch

How do you build a strong team in your business?

Starting a new business can involve building a team of capable people who complement your strengths and skill set. Venture capitalists fund teams, not business plans, as they know these plans can change every day as market conditions change and new opportunities present themselves. They’re looking for a solid team to make these adjustments and be able to quickly pivot.

Here’s our advice for building a great small business team.

Don’t start with a layer of executives

If you hold the vision for your company, you most likely need functional roles more than you need a roster of VPs. At GoForth, we started with a single founder and a team of writers and creative people. We complemented each other in every way: a business prof and a creative team – but we had to make sure we would get along. The only team members you need are people you wish you’d see when you look in the mirror.

Bring experience to functional roles

You may be a founder or CEO for the first time in your new business and there’s a lot of on-the-job learning you’ll go through. Don’t surround yourself with people who are making it up as they go along. Experience matters.

Look for generalists rather than specialists

In the early stages, you’ll need people who can do lots of things, who can brainstorm outside of their function and see how their roles affect others. To ensure this framework is rooted in your young company, hire the core technical skills you need but surround them with “deep generalists,” or people who have a specific role but the proven ability to cross into others.

Look for failures

Yes, you read that correctly! People who have failed and recovered are better than people who have never failed. Failure is a great source of insight. But more than that, people who are not hobbled by failure and can figure out how to rise again have the right personality for a new small business.

Don’t hire people like you

You need diverse experiences, philosophies, and talents to cross-pollinate. That said, hire people you like! You’ll be spending a lot of time with them. Always focus on the next step. Everyone you hire is a magnet for future hires. Never hire a jerk, no matter how talented they are, and never hire an ego, no matter how accomplished they are. They can do more damage to your culture than their talent can possibly make up for.

Defer to other people’s greater experience

You don’t have the experience they do, or you wouldn’t have hired them. That said, always seek to understand how they’re applying their experience to your business. You’ll learn, and you’ll be able to guide how the pieces fit together.

There’s no substitute for passion

If you’re like many new small businesses, you can’t pay top dollar for talent, and you don’t want to be a stepping stone to a bigger salary at a corporation. So you need your team to share your passion for what you’re doing. They should see getting to change the world through your business as a valuable, if nonmonetary, part of their compensation. If they aren’t passionate, if they don’t feel they’re changing the world with you, they might not share your overall drive and vision for the business you’re growing.

Manage out under-performers quickly

If you’re starting from scratch, you need to see the business move forward every day. You can’t fund anything but A players. Every successful company has an equally successful team behind it. The first step is to build and foster a team that can drive your business – whether it be fashion, technology, hospitality, or however else you seek to change the world.

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53 small businesses you can start from home

Many entrepreneurs run home-based businesses. This sort of business has several upsides, including greater schedule flexibility, no dress code, potential savings on expenses such as childcare, and availability of tax deductions. And with the prevalence of online productivity and collaboration tools, running a business from home is easier than ever.

Sounds great, right? If you think starting a home-based business might be ideal for you, here are 53 small businesses you can start from home – either full-time, or on the side:

  1. Social media influencer
  2. Video creator
  3. Video editor
  4. Video game review writer
  5. Copywriter
  6. Travel writer
  7. Personal trainer
  8. Tutor
  9. Financial planner
  10. Bookkeeper
  11. Accountant
  12. Photographer
  13. Event planner
  14. Visual artist
  15. Blogger
  16. Computer repair
  17. Make-up artist
  18. Personal assistant
  19. Editor
  20. Graphic designer
  21. Web designer
  22. Web developer
  23. Wedding planner
  24. Bicycle repair
  25. Social media management
  26. IT consultant
  27. Marketing consultant
  28. Grant writer
  29. Alterations or sewing
  30. Hairstylist
  31. Personal shopper
  32. Virtual assistant
  33. Transcriptionist
  34. Massage therapist
  35. Bed & breakfast
  36. Daycare
  37. Clothing designer
  38. Dog walker
  39. Pet sitter
  40. Pet groomer
  41. Dog trainer
  42. Online reseller
  43. Jewelry designer
  44. Ceramicist
  45. Music instructor
  46. Purse designer
  47. Notary public
  48. Language instructor
  49. Home organizer
  50. Home cleaner
  51. Interior decorator
  52. Business coach
  53. Woodworking

As always, we strongly recommend proper research and planning when starting a small business. Entrepreneurs starting a home-based business should be especially wary of scams and opportunities that sound too good to be true. Also, investigate any licenses and permits your home-based business may need before getting started. And of course, investing in small business education is key to helping you beat the odds and find success in entrepreneurship.

Check out these posts for more information and advice about home-based businesses:

What are the warning signs of a home-based business scam?
You should sell these! How to start a business selling your handcrafted work
Perks and snags of internet or home-based businesses
Home-based business permits and expenses
Small business permits and licenses in Canada
Tools to help entrepreneurs stay productive

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Are you ready to start a small business this year?

If you’re like many Canadians, you might have decided to finally start a small business in 2024.

Exciting!

But wait a minute. There are lots of very important things to figure out beforehand. Here are some questions that, in our years of educating entrepreneurs, we’ve identified as 13 of the most important ones prospective entrepreneurs should ask themselves before starting a small business.

Are you ready to start a small business?

  1. What’s most important to me in running a small business – making money or doing what I love?
  2. Do I have management or technical experience in a business similar to the business I want to start?
  3. Do I have any accounting or bookkeeping knowledge?
  4. How well do I handle risk?
  5. How do I cope with stress?
  6. Are my finances strong enough to support me if my small business doesn’t see income immediately?
  7. Do I have the support of my family and friends?
  8. Am I willing to work longer than usual to start my small business?
  9. How well do I lead or manage others?
  10. How adaptable am I?
  11. How do I make difficult decisions?
  12. Do I have a long-term plan for my small business?
  13. Do I have a business model?

If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, it’s actually a good thing! Knowing what you don’t know is important, and can help you find – and fix – critical gaps in your knowledge. Small business training will increase your odds of success. Nearly half of all small Canadian businesses fail within two years, so getting essential small business skills is really important.

How can you find out if you’re ready to be an entrepreneur?

Download our free Self-Assessment for Entrepreneurs to take an honest look at your situation right now. Take your time and do as much research and training as you can before you start your small business – it may make all the difference to your success.

Good luck!

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Small business blog 2023 in review

As 2023 draws to a close, we wanted to share some of our favourite blog posts of the year. We hope they’ll be valuable to Canadian entrepreneurs just like you.

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