Which Comes First, a Great Idea for a Business, or a Great Team?

Latest posts by Joel Welsh (see all)

Every single time we take the StartupNation Radio show on the road for our Success in the U.S. tour and ask the successful entrepreneurs on the panel what the most important aspect of their success is, the answer is: their people. Rich and Jeff Sloan often boldly proclaim on our nationally syndicated radio show that which they believe wholeheartedly and have heard time and time again from venture capitalists to angel investors to entrepreneurs themselves: “Great people can take an average idea and turn it into success. But average people cannot take even a great idea to that same success.”

All that sounds good, right? Then why are so many businesses started solely on the idea without a thought given to the people who will make that idea into a successful business? Shouldn’t we do it the other way around? Think about this for a moment. Maybe you haven’t started up your dream business yet. You’d love to be an entrepreneur and strike out on your own. So, what do you spend your time thinking about? Most people think about the idea for what their business will do to make money. I submit that instead we should be thinking about who we want to be in the foxhole with.

(I got that line from a movie that Suzanne and I watched this Independence Day weekend. It wasn’t a great movie but it provided a great line. The movie is ‘In Good Company’ and the line comes from Dennis Quaid in response to the question of how you make a marriage work. “Pick the one you want to be in the foxhole with and (stay faithful) when you’re out of the foxhole.”)

Starting & growing your dream business is a battle! You gotta have people, great people, beside you that you can count on.

So, if you’re ready to start your dream business think about who you want to do it with and go tell them. Now! Then you can figure out what you want to do.

If you’ve already started your business, make a list of people that you want to be in the foxhole with you and tell them. Now! Then you can figure out what role they’ll play in the business. Maybe it’ll be a full-time position, maybe it’ll a part-time advisor or consultant. In the book StartupNation: Open For Business this is called your superstar list (page 222). The Sloan brothers devote an entire chapter to The Power of People.

I’ve got my superstar list. Who’s on yours?

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