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Management Team Gaps

Just as your business plan's Competitive Comparison section is a litmus test for the competition's strengths and weaknesses, Management Team Gaps is an honest look at the leadership skills your business requires. For instance, assume that you have decided to open a coffee shop. You may have a wide range of experience in the retail industry, including a strong background in management and excellent customer service skills. But you obviously need a store manager with years of experience overseeing baristas and contacts in the coffee industry. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing a description of the required manager in your business plan. In fact, investors admire that level of honesty. They will appreciate your efforts to balance your management team.

Management Team Gaps are almost always de rigeur for a large corporation's business plan. Business plans for multinational start-ups or existing large corporations often include such gaps to entice high-powered executives and business leaders into investing in their company and taking on key leadership positions. It's a way for entrepreneurs to ask for help while providing a lucrative opportunity in exchange. Listing a "gap" is also an effective way to define positions your company will need in the future. Management Team Gaps often dovetail with a future service you will roll out in Year Two or Three; this will help signal confidence of future growth to your investor.

You should be cautious, however, of not leaving "business critical" roles unfulfilled. If your company is entering the market with an aggressive advertising campaign, you will obviously need an experienced heavy-hitter running point for your advertising department. If you're in a position where a business critical role is absent from your management team, hiring a consultant is an excellent way to have the best of both worlds. You will impress an investor with your honest appraisal of your management gap while saving considerable money. The consultant can also help define his or her role in the company, paving the way for a more permanent replacement down the line. So don't worry if you have gaps in your management team—just assure your investor that you know how to fill them.

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