We live in an era of startups. Modern tech, business automation, and communications have made it easy for us to launch new businesses with freelance employees located all over the globe. It’s easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in the hype of a new venture by taking on the world by themselves.
The truth is, your startup can progress faster if you had just the right person at your side. Two or more founders can help drive your startup to success. Your business doesn’t have to solely rely on you. Your co-founder can help you to share some of your responsibilities.
The idea of having a co-founder for your startup is excellent, but how do you find a suitable co-founder?
Why You Need a Co-founder
There are plenty of entrepreneurs out there that have had bad experiences with business partners. Because of this, many startups are launched with a single founder trying to do it all. Entrepreneurship is challenging, being a jack of all trades is difficult in a real-world situation than it is on paper.
If you are the sole founder of your startup, you will have to be involved in every aspect of your business. Your knowledge must extend through every department of your company, as well as the industry you operate in.
Partnering up with someone will help relieve your workload and stress, which can, in turn, creates a more productive environment for you and your staff. It doesn’t matter if you have a strong working knowledge of specific aspects of your business, like distribution. If your co-founder is just as passionate as you are, it will assist you in running your business more efficiently.
On the other hand, if you specialize in marketing, but have no idea on how to build a website, a co-founder with the technical skills needed to develop a website will help. They can oversee web design and support queries while you focus on generating leads. Going about this on your own will mean you will have to study web design or leave this crucial task to a staff member to handle.
More Reasons Not to Fly Solo
- Assist with funding – developing a business takes months or years and every penny counts. Even if you do have investors, there will be times when you will have to dig into your personal savings and resources. A business partner can share their expenses, resources, and time.
- Get the ball rolling faster – While you are spending days choosing an appropriate color scheme for your brand, other crucial aspects of your business are being put aside. A co-founder can develop your social media profiles and email marketing strategy while you are busy focused on something else.
- It’s very hard to start a new business – you might have an exclusive idea that solves a lot of people’s problems. It’s an exciting prospect that has you all pumped up in the early stages. However, turning your business idea into reality is really hard, especially if you wish to upscale your business quickly.
- Investors prefer companies with multiple founders – Having a co-founder helps to reduce the risk investors take when sending cash your way. If you are not available to present the progress of your startup, your co-founder can step in.
- Ready to fill in for you – If you are truly passionate about your business, a co-founder can ensure that the brand stays alive even after you exit the company.
Requirements of a Business Partner
Your passion for what you do is the thing that will drive you through the hard times. When things don’t go right or your business hasn’t made a profit in months, the love you have for your startup will keep you from giving up.
You won’t always find this sort of passion in your employees. A co-founder that’s just as enthusiastic about your startup will help you navigate through the bad times.
A co-founder must handle tasks and make decisions. They have to be readily available when needed. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not allowed to run other businesses if they want to. They just can’t leave you in the deep end when you need them most.
If you are looking for someone with skills that complement yours, then consider drafting a job description for them. List your strengths and weaknesses to discover which areas of your business you will need assistance in. Then search for someone who is strong in those areas where you fall short.
Find a Business Partner You Can Trust
A co-founder that perfectly complements your skillset is great. You push the sales and marketing, while they handle finance and administration. However, if your business partner cant holds up their side of the business, then you will have to fill in for them. This can impact negatively on your ability to reach sales targets.
Trust isn’t always knowing that a co-founder will show up for work. Its also knowing that their departments are running smoothly. A simple lack of judgment on their side could lead to your company being audited and having penalties to pay.
Something like this will, unfortunately, impacts on you because it’s your company. This is something that you both could have avoided if your co-founder followed proper protocols.
It is advisable to partner up with someone who is as experienced as you are. However, there’s also nothing wrong with giving a younger person a chance at being a founder. Whoever your co-founder turns out to be, they have to be able to handle responsibility and stress.
Where to Find Co-founders
Teaming up with a family member or close friend might seem like a perfect idea, but in reality, too many things can go wrong. You wouldn’t want to have too much of a personal connection with a business partner. Search for people that fit your requirements and preferably operate within your industry.
If no one is available in your area, you could try networking with people online. LinkedIn is a great place to start, but it can be difficult to navigate through potential candidates because you don’t know who is in a position to become a co-founder.
That’s why dedicated founder or entrepreneurship channels are great because it helps you to cut right to the chase. You can network with like-minded people who have a goal similar to yours, which is to become a co-founder of a startup.
Here’s some of the most popular founder platforms:
Founders Nation – A marketplace built for founders with startup ideas and people looking to become co-founders.
Indie Hackers – A platform that connects entrepreneurs with experienced founder.
Founder Dating – A network packed with entrepreneurs, founders, and mentors.
AngelList – A popular platform for people who want to join or invest in a startup.
Co-Founder Subreddit – Reddit is the forum we love to hate and can be a good place to casually seek out potential co-founders. The r/Entrepreneur and r/startup subreddits are great places to find feedback too.
Issues with Having the Wrong Co-founder
There are plenty of successful founders and business people out there that tend to be extremely controlling or have a wild personal life. Their personalities never get in the way of their results, even if they are not the nicest of people to be with. It’s up to you if you want to work with these people. However, beware of the potential conflict that can arise.
Do proper background checks on your potential co-founders to see if anything from their past can potentially come back to hurt your company. There’s nothing wrong with allowing a person to redeem themselves. However, it’s still a good idea to be prepared for any future disputes.
As mentioned earlier, entrepreneurship is challenging and difficult, but it is also a world of excitement and adventure. The person you choose to be your co-founder will be the one by your side throughout this entire adventure.
Do your research and take your time when getting into a partnership with someone. Your co-founder will be there with you through the exciting and hard times. Make sure this is the person you want to share your startup with.
Are you currently looking for a co-founder? Or do you have some great business partner stories to share? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Jack Paxton. Co-Founder, vyper.io & TopGrowthMarketing.com. Jack helps companies scale. Since 2011 he’s started an ad agency (TopGrowthMarketing.com) and accumulated $150 million plus in profitable ad spend. After identifying the power of virality (sharing) and incentivization. He then co-founded VYPER.io, a giveaway, referral, and rewards program builder.