Some good discussion in this thread at Hacker News about how to evaluate people with a business skillset if you've got technical skills already.
I reckon "a knack for getting money" is probably the most key thing to look for in a businessperson. Some people have a knack for getting money.
All the business skills in the world without the knack for getting money doesn't fly. Well, maybe for employee #7,632 once a company's made it. But not for starting something up. You need to hustle and get money of some form real fast early on. A business guy who can't get money is probably worse than useless - if he wasn't on board, you'd be worried about solving the money problem yourself. But since he's supposedly the business guy and seems to be doing business guy stuff, you think things are cool. But things aren't cool. Go long enough without money, you die.
So, where do you get a knack for getting money? We're not born with it. It's acquired through action somehow. What's it take?
I'm very excited by Miguel Hernandez's interview here -- it covers how he took a huge risk to kickstart his animation business, and how's kept his quality extremely high through systematization. Miguel is running a pretty exciting deal at GiveGetWin, "Document & Systematize Your Whole Business/Workflow" --
"On Conquering the World (the whole world)" by Miguel Hernandez, as told to Sebastian Marshall
I think a little is the makeup of who I am and how I grew up. My parents are awesome and I love them a lot but unfortunately they separated many years ago -- one of the reasons is because they're so different, and I picked stuff from both of them. My mother is a creative person, a painter her whole life, and a very spiritual person. My dad is a brilliant electrical engineer with an amazing analytical mind. They're like oil and water, they don't mix together (and that's why they're not together any more). But I got stuff from both of them. I picked up a lot of the creativity from my mother, and a lot of the square-headedness from my father.
It's allowed me to put it together to build a business that mixes both -- the creativity, and the ability to sit down and be very organized. It's a good combination for this type of business. We have to be very creative to tell compelling stories, and when I'm running the business, I need to be very detail-oriented.