- On June 26, 2020
Finding perfect co-founders is key to determine the future of your company, as we know, founders are the ground base for how the business will grow, and choosing the right co-founders can assure you the entrepreneurial journey to be more bearable.
Keep in mind these 5 things when looking for your perfect co-founders:
1.- Trust and Communication
The key to a great partnership with your co-founders is to have mutual trust between everyone involved. Having a business requires you to share a lot of personal information with your co-founders and you need to know a lot of personal information from them, plus you’ll most likely have access to funds to be spent in the project. So its really important to seek a co-founder in whom you truly trust. This is why many times best friends end up founding a startup together but this has some pros and cons.
Trust is sadly also one of the most common causes for partnership breakings, but there is a way to address this, the key to a great partnership is frequent, transparent and straightforward communication. Everything should be clearly expressed and every founder involved should not feel as if they’re keeping something from the other founders, this is the time for completely coming through and to express important information co-founders should know, so when looking for a co-founder seek someone who’s comfortable sharing this with you.
The main idea is that you trust and know your co-founders enough to practice communication that will allow you to understand their fears, dreams, beliefs, motivations, worries, fears, concerns, expectations, visions, feelings and everything that goes through your heads about the startup.
2.- Determine Ownership, Possession, and Control
One of the first things you should do is find a lawyer who will help you with all of the paperwork, it is of utmost importance that this is done by a third party who will help you and your co-founders avoid future legal hassle. Do not take this for granted and make sure everything is clearly laid out in legal documents. Those documents should state the ownership, possession, and control of the startup.
Ownership, in this particular case, can be defined as who owns the equity and how much each co-founder owns. Keeping in mind that those who are putting the full-time work should be compensated accordingly, a great way to accomplish this is to put a price tag in the hours from those founders who are invested in the Startup.
Possession should be defined as, who runs the operations of the company. For example, a great way to do this is by defining roles, responsibilities, and how much time each founder is going to dedicate to the project. It’s also important that workload expectations are clear from the start, this way you can avoid the feelings that some co-founders are not working enough or perhaps working too much on the Startup.
Control will be defined as, who is in the Board of directors and how voting and decisions are made. It’s also important for this matter to define a plan to handle disagreements, creating a template of steps to take for working through disagreements is a great way to plan ahead for potential problems.
3.- Complementary Needs Satisfaction
Since I was little my father always spoke to me about business partnerships and how should I address them. He was insistent in thinking about partnerships as filling each other’s gaps, thinking thoroughly the fact that for a partnership to work and be sustainable in time, it would require for each partner to first identify their own needs and skills, then identify the potential co-founders’ needs and skills, and then analyze if there was a match between the needs and skills from each other. The moment a need was not met, or skill would not be useful for the business that partnership could potentially become a problem.
In this sense, it’s important that you seek a co-founder that satisfies your needs and lackings, and that you satisfy their needs and lackings. One way to do this is to search for a partner with a different background than yours, for example, if you’re an engineer you could partner with a marketing or finance specialist to complement your lackings.
Keep in mind when seeking your future co-founders you should also identify their personality traits and profiles, it’s important to find co-founders that share similar work habits and if you have an entrepreneurial soul with a risk-taking profile, finding a co-founder with the same trait is key to move forward.
4.- Define and share a vision together to find your purpose
As important as trust and complementary needs satisfaction, you need to unify your vision and purpose. Many successful founders, share thoughts about the importance of conviction, passion, and purpose in the entrepreneurial journey, it becomes the key to sustain and overcome obstacles. So when seeking a co-founder make sure you establish a unified vision, which everyone is comfortable with.
This becomes easier when your co-founders and you, share a common purpose. Yes, most founders in the entrepreneurial journey want to change the world, but the answers to How does that change look like? Who will it impact? and What is your motivation? should be similar to your potential co-founders. This assures you the decision-making process to be easier since every founder is looking at the same north star to follow.
Remember to ask those questions to your potential co-founders and to understand if their answers are similar to yours, in case you find some extremely different answers, its advisable that you rethink whether this is the right co-founder for your project.
5.- Don’t settle, choose perfection
It’s not easy to find the perfect co-founder, and even if you find someone with every trait that you have in mind, there is a chance that the partnership will not work. This is why even if you’ve done a very detailed analysis of your co-founders, and they have done the same with you, but still your intuition is telling you this is not the right move, sleep it off a couple of days before making a decision.
Check this list and feelings again, until you and every co-founder feel confident that you have found a perfect match for each other. In case you feel something is off, it’s much better to terminate early business partnerships than to wait longer, and have a larger mess to clean up. Don’t be afraid of telling your best friend the partnership isn’t working in an early stage, even though at first it might seem as a difficult situation, it will be the right choice and you’ll remain friends.
If you’re struggling with choosing perfection, you can also talk to mentors and advisors, they’ve gone through the same thing several times and can guide you in the right direction. Don’t think this is an issue that will bore them, they will be happy to help you because it is really important that you feel confident about the co-founder you’re choosing, and they could even have a big network and recommend a better fit for your startup.
It is important that you develop a pitch for your potential cofounders so they can buy into your vision and work with you check our new pitch generation tool: