NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When it comes to picking which start-ups to invest in, there is one key metric that trumps all: Who is running it?
A great team will take a bad idea and turn it into a viable business. Inversely, a bad team will destroy a great idea overnight. This is why it's important to pay more attention to the founders and teams of start-ups than the idea itself.
But what kinds of start-up entrepreneurs will be successful? Here are a few key things to look for:
1. Previous experience is important but not a deal-breaker.
We all have a beginning -- experience is very important because it lowers the risk for execution, but there are a lot of traits that an entrepreneur is either going have or isn't: passion, intelligence, drive, ability to inspire, vision, and so many others. Someone can have all the experience in the world but if they don't have these intrinsic qualities then pass.
2. Vision for the company.
Starting on day one, an entrepreneur has to have a vision for the company and understand who the customers are. If they're worried about an exit or how much money they're going to make if their company becomes wildly successful than they're most likely not going to create anything of value. All of that will fall into place if a start-up founder understands who the customers are and has a product that delivers value to those customers.
3. Personality markers that make an entrepreneur fit to lead a business.