Blog Tips: TOP 5 Most Important Characteristics for a Winning Startup

In the previous posts, we have been giving tips for the success of startups, and a part of these tips involved having a good team. In fact, we don't lie when we say "no team, no success". I mean, maybe you can make it without a team, in the same way, you can go from Lisbon to Porto on foot. But it is also true that a car can help on the way, right? With a team, it's exactly the same. We can make achievements alone, but a good team, with good skills and knowledge, will make success much sooner! So, in this blog post we prove that "two heads are better than one" and we bring you the top 5 characteristics that a team must have in order to be successful!

1. The right skills Reading a magazine article some time ago, I came across something that I considered very true. Let's look at the following example: when we recruit someone for the position of "Communication Director", we naturally expect someone with high communication skills. But in communication there are several segments, like journalism, public relations, content, design, and so on so forth... The same goes for Marketing, where tactics can include, for example, digital, advertising, inbound and outbound, content, B2B or B2C, etc. Each sector requires different expertise. Therefore, it is important to ensure that you find people who have in-depth knowledge of your specific industry, but from different areas: technical, commercial, strategic, communication. You should consider having an expert advisory board, people who don’t work at the company but dedicate 30 min weekly to advise the CEO on specific topics and make meaningful intros. Bottom line: have people from various areas that know how to manage in all types of situations, and that always has a positive open mind. You know what we mean? Someone who knows how to do the job, but manages to build a chair if necessary!

2. Personality counts too

Here I can tell a story. One day, when I was talking to my colleagues at lunch, we started talking about the day of my interview for BGI. Between laughs, I told them how nervous I was and how I tried to deliver a good image, since it was my first job interview ever! At that moment, our Digital & Deep Tech Manager Otis told me that in interviews, in addition to assessing the interviewee's capabilities, BGI always values people's personality and the vibes they transmit. In fact, this is fundamental to the smooth running of a startup. As we all know, startups are a 24/7 kind of job. So, we spend a lot of time with our co-workers. That's why having a personality that fits the startup values is essential to build a committed team.

3. Past Startups Experience

Some investors rely on gut instinct in assessing startup teams, while some others are risk-averse and want to see some prior experience in launching a startup. But this is also important in other situations, within the startup itself. Having someone who already knows the subject makes it much easier to decide on the next steps to take, and avoids making the same mistakes as in the past. According to Forbes, failing in the past and being open to new directions will ultimately lead to future successes, as founders of failed startups have a 20% greater chance of succeeding in their next venture.

4. Common goal, common vision

It is equally important that each team shares the same goal and a consistent view of what and how you are building. For example, imagine that the goal is to build a house. When explaining the details, it is important that all members know that you are going to build a duplex loft and not a T1 apartment or a chalet. Having the same dream and ambition is crucial to ensure everyone is working hard to achieve success. Furthermore, people need to feel that they are truly part of the path to success, so having daily/weekly meetings is key, as well as counting on everyone’s feedback towards improvements. Think of your team like the dream team basketball Chicago Bulls showed to the world. Michael Jordan would never make it without Scottie Pippen or Dennis Rodman. Trust, communication and looking forward towards the same goal, that was the only way an underdog team who never won the NBA championship, did it 6 times.

5. “Fire in the belly” & willingness to learn

We always end with this call to "do what you like" and it can sound like a cliché, but in fact it is very important! It is essential that everyone involved in startups share the same passion for what they do and, as they say, they have "fire in the belly" to conquer your market and do it as quickly as possible. Another fundamental thing is to know how to accept criticism and be willing to learn how to improve! There is no investor betting on a start-up team that is not willing to receive constructive criticism, accept advice and learn from past mistakes. But if you want to learn and improve, we can help you with that!

Our acceleration program helps technological startups and innovative projects to build winning teams, obtain customers and acquire investment. During the last decade we have supported 77 startups to raise 248 million euros. On average, startups accelerated by us manage to raise 2.6 million euros after 2 years of acceleration. Watch the video below and learn more about our track record! Oh, and remember: BGI is always #TakingYouFurther! Apply until the 15th May.

Watch our BGI Accelerator Video!

Also, read our latest Blog Tips: What do Portuguese investors look for in a startup? | 6 Rules