Like dating, but money is on the line
Choosing your business partner or co-founder is one of the biggest relationship choices you’ll ever make. I’d like to say it ranks right up there with choosing your spouse.
It’s a lot easier to fire an employee or break up with a roommate than it is to split up with a business partner. And if your co-founder is related to you, you have even more complexities. Here are some things you should consider in your startup phase when finding the right person to get your business off the ground.
Ask yourselves the following questions
- Do you have the same goals and vision?
It’s not just about making money or providing a service. You and your partner need to be committed to the same purpose. Do you want to build a huge company or are you just trying to get it to a point where you can sell it? Make sure you’re on the same page with the co-founder.
- Do you have complementary skill sets?
Having a partner that balances your strengths and weaknesses is invaluable. If you’re great with budgeting and planning, find someone who can be the marketing face. Maybe you tend to be more cautious; find a co-founder who is going to help push you out of your comfort zone while you keep that person from being too reckless. Balance.
You should also find someone with a different network from yours and who solves problems differently.
This makes your team stronger and brings more to the table.
- Do you respect this person?
You are going to be spending a lot of time with this individual. You better be able to respect them and enjoy their personality.
Anything that grates on you now, will only get worse. Don’t think this individual is going to change.
Certainly, you hope that they will grow and learn, but if they’re a spendthrift, you can’t expect change right away.
- Are they a learner?
You want your co-founder to have experience, but you also don’t want them to stop learning. Choose someone who is going to keep learning about different aspects of your business and industry.
- Do they have the drive to keep going?
Energy is important, because it’s going to take a lot to get your business off the ground. You both are going to need an enormous amount of energy to get through the hurdles ahead.
You want someone with physical, mental, and emotional stamina to hang on when it gets tough and to keep pushing when you’re growing.
I’m sure there are many other traits you could look for in a co-founder. Do your due diligence and really talk to the person before you embark on any adventure. Then, go to a lawyer and have a business arrangement laid out in legal terms. Trust me on this.