Starting and running a business can be challenging and arduous. There are many obstacles and hurdles to cross. Having a co-founder makes things easier.
When you think of all the tasks and processes you need to complete to start a business, having someone share the responsibility will be a great idea. Now picking the perfect co-founder can be just as challenging as no one really will prepare you for the decision of selecting the right co-founder for your business. There are times when friends decide to be co-founders and start a business together. In some other cases, people choose to partner with a co-founder based on the varied skills that they bring to the table.
There are a few options that can help you to choose the perfect co-founder. And this is not a decision that you should take impulsively; instead, it should be well thought out and researched. You can have multiple partners for your business, but no matter how many partners you have, you all should be able to get along well. This is essential for the success of your company. So to avoid mistakes and choose a co-founder effectively, go through the tips mentioned in this article.
Don’t Compromise While Choosing.
You should not settle for anyone less than perfect as your co-founder. This might be a time-consuming experience, but it will pay off rather than settling for someone who you will have to break off from later on. Before deciding on a person, evaluate the possible drawbacks of working with that person, and discover the faults they might have. To do this, have an honest and open discussion with your potential partner about what pitfalls might arise in the future for the company and possible routes you might take to solve them.
If you can agree on most of the discussion points, then it’s probably safe to move ahead. You should try to choose as close to the perfect candidate as you can. There will always be some points that won’t match between you two; just have an open discussion about finding a resolution to those points before you start to work together and invest together.
It can be immensely difficult to build a startup. And this will inevitably strain your relationship with your co-founder. When you notice this strain starting to develop, you need to be empathetic towards your co-founder. This might be a skill that you will need to cultivate, and it is worth it at the end of the day.
Being empathetic towards each other will enable you to see that you can make mistakes as you are both, after all, human and can get stressed. Some might see being empathetic to be a sign of weakness, but in reality, it actually helps to strengthen the bond between yourself and your co-founder. Showing empathy will make your partner see that you don’t just care about the business, but you care for him as a human being as well.
Be Open To Opposites
You might be surprised, but finding a person who is opposite to you in many traits can actually be beneficial when choosing a co-founder. Someone who is good at things you aren’t and can balance your skills can be an excellent find. A successful entrepreneur must possess many traits and skills. You obviously can’t have all of them. Hence, choosing someone who has those skills will balance the equation and prove to be an excellent match for you.
See If Your Work Habits Match
It’s a good idea to pick a co-founder with whom you share some similarities. Your co-founder must also be willing to put in the number of hours you do and work the same amount as you. It’s best if you both share the same communication style. If your work style is working a typical shift and leaving the office by 5 PM to spend time with your family, then it will be difficult to have a co-founder who is more comfortable working in unconventional times like late at night. So it is essential to find someone who matches your working time. Also, most entrepreneurs put in long work weeks. Check beforehand if your co-founder is willing and able to put in those long hours.
See If He Is Financially And Emotionally Stable
The conversation you need to have to ascertain this is not going to be an easy one, but it is one that you need to have. If you are entrusting this person to be running your company alongside you, you need to be assured of his mental, emotional, and financial stability. You have to see if he is stable financially and what’s going on in his life.
Although you might feel uneasy, you still need to talk to them to determine their family’s situation and the condition at home. You must also be honest with them about your own financial condition and emotional stability. Honesty is the key as this is a two-way street, where both of you must have full disclosure to each other for this business relationship to work.
Honesty is the truly best policy when it comes to being blunt with your co-founder. This is a quality that makes leaders. There will be opinions about the way certain things should be done and have certain points of view regarding important decisions, and you just need to be able to discuss this with your co-founder honestly. If you’re not honest with each other, you will keep feeling like you are constantly stepping on the other one’s toes. You must both agree that you will be blatantly honest with each other from the beginning; this way, you will be able to avoid many problems in communication.
Have A Plan To Deal With the Disagreements
Having disagreements over business matters with your co-founder is inevitable. How you handle conflicts is what counts. You can create a list of possible steps that you might take to walk you through the disagreements. If you plan ahead about how you two will handle potential problems, you will already know how to react and respond to the conflict when it occurs. Planning also reduces the likeliness of a disagreement arising in the first place.
To get any work done, you two must be able to communicate with each other well. To accomplish this, you must first find out what their communication styles are like and how they prefer to communicate. There will be some people who are fine with communicating over email or any other messaging service, while others like it better to have face-to-face meetings to discuss something important. So if you and your co-founder prefer different modes of communication, it will be difficult to get much work done.
Every individual has their own tone and style of communicating. Some people are straightforward and direct, making them sometimes come across as harsh. In contrast, others will take a softer approach to get to the point by asking more questions. No style is right or wrong, but you need to identify that your style matches your co-founder and that you two can get along by communicating easily.
When you meet your prospective co-founder for the first time, don’t beat around the bush and go for the tough questions straight away. Get them over with at first, and this will indicate how well you two communicate. If you are unable to communicate your ideas to each other or cannot communicate well over any given topic, that would indicate you are not meant for partnership.
Check If They Are Self-Sufficient
You must choose a co-founder who is completely self-sufficient. Or else it will just be like hiring another employee. You need to feel comfortable about letting your co-founder work independently and make important decisions that shape the company’s future. You need to remember that you are not looking to hire an assistant, instead of a partner who is equal to you in making decisions and helping you grow the business.
Check Out Their Character
It’s important that you really like the person you choose to work together to start a company. If you don’t like your co-founder as a person, what skills they have does not matter; you will not enjoy working with them. This is why, more than skills, sometimes your co-founder’s morals and character matter more. You can teach skills to someone, but growing a personality cannot be taught.
It’s actually easier if you have worked with your co-founder before. This has given you the experience to know what problems you can encounter and how well you two can mesh. But beware of having your friend as your co-founder. Although you guys might get along great as friends, being partners in a business brings about new challenges and situations. You might see that you behave very differently under those circumstances.
The first thing that you need to be sure of is the fact that you like and trust the person you will choose as your co-founder. No matter how skilled and experienced the person is, your business will not prosper if you can’t stand to be in the same room with the person who is running the company alongside you. It’s not easy to find the perfect co-founder. Go through the tips mentioned above to make the task of choosing your business partner less painstaking—best of luck with your new business venture.