A good management team can take even a mediocre idea and make it
fly. In fact, strong entrepreneurial teams have been known to move
from business idea to business idea, repeatedly creating and
running thriving companies. Conversely, weak management often
cannot build a strong business out of even the best idea. For this
reason, the management section of your business plan must
demonstrate that the team you have assembled, or will assemble, is
a winner. Each member of management must of course be talented
and have experience relevant to your business, but it is also
important that the people on your team have complementary
Use this section to describe company management including the
responsibilities and expertise of each person. Many lenders and
venture capitalists base their investment decisions on the
strength of the company's principals. Demonstrating that your management team
possesses, or will possess, an array of complementary skills will
help convince investors that your business has a bright future.
For positions you have yet to fill, detail who you will need to
hire to achieve the goals set out in the product development
schedule. Describe the talents this person needs to possess and
how the addition of that person will help the company meet its
- Be sure to have major categories of business management covered
such as marketing, sales (including customer relations and
service), production and quality assurance, research, and
administration. You do not have to have personnel devoted to each
of these areas, but you should have people who will be able to
assume these responsibilities as needed.
- Include relevant details in your management description, but
save complete resumes as attachments to your plan. This will
enable readers to quickly skim your management section and
evaluate the strength of your team. If they are interested,
they can delve deeper into management's background by
reviewing their resumes.
- Emphasize people who have already committed to working with
- Always put backgrounds in reverse chronological order - lead
with your most impressive piece of experience. Some people
make the mistake of leading with graduating college and
ending with their recent history.
- For important positions left unfilled at the time your
business plan is assembled, describe necessary skills and
A short section on who owns and controls your company will help
readers derive a better understanding of who will be making
decisions. Potential lenders, many of whom will require a significant
stake in the company in exchange for funds, will also be interested in
what portion of the company's equity is available.
Board of Directors/Board of Advisors
A strong board of directors or board of advisors is an asset to a
business. It can add credibility to your management team and increase your
likelihood of success. In this section, outline who is on your
board, listing their names, employment, training,
education, and expertise. Highlight each board
members' experiences and how they will help your
Many small business owners use the skills of
board members to provide expertise and assistance they currently
cannot afford to hire. If this is the case in your business, use
this section of your business plan to play up the fact that your
company has acquired this expertise by having a board. If the
board members have industry connections, good reputations, or
potential to raise capital for your business, be sure to include
- Use your board of directors descriptions as an opportunity
to demonstrate your good business judgment by making it
clear how each member will positively impact the company.
- Create a board that complements existing management. If,
for example, you own a small technology company but don't have any
marketing experience, for example, search for board members
who can provide that help. Create a chart to determine the
kind of talent needed to move your company ahead. List the
skills your management possesses. You can then make a list
of the skills you need to acquire and the people who possess
- Avoid the common mistake of creating a board of directors
made up of friends. Make a list of your needs first
and then slot friends and colleagues in as appropriate, not
the other way around.
- If you have not formed a board of directors or advisors yet,
use this section to discuss the kind of talent and
experience you plan to assemble for your board.
Strong support services - including attorneys, accountants,
advertising agencies, as well as industry-specific services - help
indicate others' faith in your business as well as your ability to
attract talent to your business. Having support services in place
also indicates to readers of your plan that you have thought
through all of the support you will need for the business to
thrive. In your description of each support service, describe what
strengths the company or individual possesses, as well as what
experience or contacts they bring to your company.
- Ask industry peers for the name of the best support services for your industry.
- Read trade magazines to find the names of "hot" firms that will add clout to your business plan.
- Start-up firms will often take on other start-ups. If you can find a start-up support services company founded by high flyers, this will add cachet to your business.
- Be sure to mention education when it will carry the most clout. For example, business and law degrees are evaluated heavily based on the institution from which they were earned, so if you are bringing in lawyers or MBAs, mention their Alma Maters.