Business Plan Management Team Section

An Overview of your Founders, Key Employees, and Advisors

Management Team

The purpose of including the management team in a business plan is that it provides an overview of your founders and key employees. Yet, in the beginning, that might be just one person. You can increase your plan’s credibility by establishing a supporting cast of key mentors and advisors and including them in this section.

This article provides information about how to present your management team, including examples and a management team template you can use for your business plan.

Important Considerations for Presenting Your Management Team

Venture capitalists will often say, “We don’t invest in ideas. We invest in people.” Their rationale is that, over time, the idea will have to evolve. The right team will develop the idea into a winner. But the wrong team can ruin even what was initially an outstanding idea. So the question to be answered by this section is, “What experience and achievements in this team’s past demonstrate that they will succeed in this new business?”

Business Plan Outline for your Management Team:

The structure for the management team section of your business plan is straightforward. For each bullet point item below, expand on the experience and value brought to your company by their participation. The following sections will recommend best practices for presenting your management team in a way that investors and lenders will appreciate.

  • Founders
  • Key Employees
  • Hiring Plans
  • Board Members
  • Professional Advisors

Founders and CEOs

Most startup businesses will be led by the founder as the Chief Executive Officer or CEO. For a startup, the title of President is equally suitable.

A founder / CEO having a discussion with her leadership team

If Your Founder is also the CEO

Assuming your President or CEO is also the founder, begin your Management Team section with a description of the individual who will be the CEO or senior person in charge of running the company.

Under the heading of Founder and CEO, include a mini-bio relevant to the credibility of this person leading the firm to success. A lender or investor will go to LinkedIn to get the full bio, so stick to the essential elements.

The best thing you can say about the founder is that he or she has CEO-level experience running a similar business or one in a similar space. Realistically, you’re only sometimes going to be able to say that. What can you say?

First, present the most relevant experience that makes the CEO “investable.” That could be technical expertise, sales experience, or management skills from another company. By stating the most relevant experience to the new business right up front, you’ll help the reader see the transferable skills. If there is no CEO experience, don’t worry. In the following sections, we’ll show you how to build a bridge of confidence to cover that gap.

If Your Founder is not the CEO

If the founder is not the CEO, two questions must be answered in this lead-off sub-section of your business plan management team. First, why is the founder not leading the company as its CEO? Next, what role will the founder play in the business?

Hopefully, the first question answers itself by presenting the outstanding qualifications of the CEO, such that the reader would be impressed by the fact that you were able to get this person to come on board to grow your business. A simple example would be:

Robert Nelson has 20 years of experience in our industry, 10 of that as a CEO. Robert will lead MyCo as our CEO. Robert is known and respected in the field and will surely accelerate our growth.  

Dana Elders, our founder, worked under Robert as the head of sales, where he flourished. Dana will be MyCo’s President and will also be responsible for driving revenue. 

Whatever the circumstances are that led to your founder not being the CEO, one would expect that there is an advantage with an upside. Otherwise, why would the founder abdicate this role? Be sure to identify the upside in your business plan.

Key Management Team Members

Highlight the relevant experience and accomplishments your team brings to the table. You can include the resumes of your key management team members as appendices in your business plan and refer to them in this section.

Portrait of successful group of managers at modern office looking at camera.

Whom should you include?

Include as many of the following roles in your management team as you have filled. Adapt these to align more closely with the important roles in your industry.

  • Any VP-level person
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Product Officer
  • Chief Technology Officer
  • Head of Sales
  • Head of Marketing
  • Head of Operations
  • Any outstanding contributor with experience that will obviously contribute to the success of your business.

What to Say about Each Person on Your Management Team

For each individual you list, include their relevant experience, transferable skills, and key accomplishments, emphasizing factors that will contribute to your business’ success. Avoid making readers “connect the dots” on their own. Rather, make the connection for them.

For example:

Jose Rodero, VP of Product and Marketing.  

In Jose’s previous role as Chief Product Officer of LikeMine Company, he expanded into new markets and tripled the size of the business in three years. This experience is ideal for MyCo as we move beyond a single market to expand into adjacent markets. 

Highlight Relevant Accomplishments

For each person you list in the key management section, it’s helpful to convey a pattern of accomplishments, such as, “At her last company, Ms. Johnson was named Employee of the Year for the past two years. During that time, she was twice promoted. First to VP of Sales and then to COO.

Leave out admirable but “sideline” accolades such as, “Ms. Johnson is a two-time winner of the La Jolla Triathlon.” Unless an accolade relates to the success of your business, you’re better off mentioning it in the biography (included as an appendix) or leaving it out altogether.

Hiring Plans

At the early stages of your company, you might be missing some key people on your management team—this is normal and acceptable. Usually, this has a lot to do with why you are seeking funding. If you haven’t yet hired all your key people, you can address this in your business plan in two ways.

First, if you have lined up some individuals who will come on board when you bring in your funding, you can identify them in your business plan. If this information is not ready to be disclosed, you can allude to it in generalized terms without divulging the person’s name or current company.

“We have identified an individual with ten years of experience in a similar company to fill the Director of Marketing role. Pending the timing of our funding, we expect this person to join our team.

Next, address any gaps in your management team that need to be filled. Identify key hires that remain and the order in which you expect to fill the positions. Doing so shows that you’re thinking ahead and shields you from any criticism about holes in your current team.

While you may think these gaps are a weakness in your plan, your potential investors or lenders become a source of free candidate referrals!

Board Members

Board of Directors versus Board of Advisors

There are two types of boards: a board of directors and a board of advisors, sometimes called an advisory board. A board of directors can have specific legal responsibilities and authority. For that reason, some individuals would prefer to join a board of advisors.

A corporate meeting room with laptops in a modern panoramic office in New York.

A board of advisors generally has fewer or no formal responsibilities but can be just as beneficial to the company through the guidance they provide. It’s never too early, and your business is never too small to have a board of advisors.

Whether it’s a board of directors or a board of advisors, it is important to surround yourself with experienced advisors who will provide sound advice that you will be willing to follow. Anything less will waste your time and theirs.

One founder we met with had this to say about a particular board member:

“I selected him to be on the board of my first company because he was strongly recommended by two successful business people I knew. I found him to be someone who pushed back on many of my ideas, asked lots of tough questions, and always held me to task on everything I said we would accomplish. We were not friends outside of the business.

When I started my next business, and we needed to set up a board–he was the first person I called.” 

Your best board members may not be your best friends, and hopefully, they won’t be people who think just like you. A board brings a diversity of thought and critical thinking. They help you be a better version of yourself.

Having a board of directors or board of advisors tells lenders and investors that you value the input of outside thinking and have the skills to build relationships with people who can help your business succeed. That bodes well for the future success of your business!

Board of Directors

Your initial board of directors will almost certainly be led by the founder as its Chair. Typically, a co-founder, angel investor, or key employee with very senior executive experience might also be on the board. A small board of directors is fine, especially if you’ll be adding a board of advisors.

Depending on the state where you start your business and your corporate structure, a minimum number of board members may be prescribed.

Advisory Board

If you still need to get a board of directors beyond the minimum required roles, consider putting together a board of advisors. Chances are you have mentors and people with relevant experience who are giving you input on your business idea. Perhaps one of them is even a customer or potential customer.

Consider asking these people to agree to be on your board of advisors, a group that would meet quarterly to hear updates on your business and to provide input. With their consent, you can list members of your board of advisors in your business plan. You’ll find that accomplished people are often happy to join your board of advisors for little or no compensation.

What to Show in Your Business Plan for Board Members (Directors and Advisors)

For each board member in your board of directors and board of advisors, list their name, current or most recent position, and company. If members have special experience that pertains strongly to your business, naturally, you would also want to include that information. Include up to two or three sentences of narrative about each board member.

Using the format above, first list your Board of Directors and then your Board of Advisors.

Professional Services Advisors

If you have worked with an attorney to establish your business, an accountant to help prepare your financial forecasts, or an advertising or PR firm to help prepare some promotional materials—include these organizations in your business plan’s management section under the heading “Professional Advisors.”

An advisor discusses work with a mentee who takes notes.

Bankers and investors are often well-connected to area professional service providers. Knowing that you are working with recognized names in the business community can boost your credibility. It also tells the reader that you’re being advised by professionals.

Be sure to let your advisors know in advance that you’ve listed them in your business plan since oftentimes, they’ll get a phone call asking for their impressions of the business. Better still, seek and obtain their permission.

In this section, include the type of services provided, the name of the firm, and your primary contact.


Legal Advisors: Dewey and Howe. Jerry Mander, Partner.

Management Team Example Summary

Most startup businesses have a lean management team. A savvy founder will find a way to surround him or herself with individuals who will help the business get started, grow and thrive as non-executive contributors.

Use our provided information and management team examples to present a well-rounded management team section in your business plan.

If you still need to get some of the ancillary advisors we’ve recommended, now is the time to expand your influence circle. You’ll find that there are highly qualified individuals who are willing and even enthusiastic to be a part of your success.

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