4 Steps To Finding The Perfect Co-Founder For Your Startup
So, you have the perfect business plan.
Now, how do you execute?
Some entrepreneurs have a founding team (usually one other person) to divide up the work.
Other new ventures are comprised of one-man teams that outsource key logistics.
Within the realm of sole founders, there are some who desire a co-founder to help meet company goals and minimize risk.
If you are the latter, this article is for you.
There are many benefits to working with someone else at the launch of a business.
You'll have someone to exchange ideas with, hold you accountable, motivate you and, in ideal cases, complement your skills.
Deciding whether or not to go into business with someone is one of the most important business decisions you ever make.
Many guidebooks offered by startup C-Suites assume you know exactly what you're looking for and provide strategies on where to seek people out.
But, finding the right business partner is not an algorithm.
Take off the tech hat and think more qualitatively and introspectively.
Here are the four steps to doing it right:
1. Understand your venture's key short-term and long-term goals.
As a company founder, it's easy to get buried in your own niche of the business plan.
Revisiting your venture's value proposition ensures that you are always in a position ready to pivot, grow and succeed.
At my company, NaturAll Club, our goal is to expand our membership of hair care-obsessed Millennials each month and each quarter.
If you know your simple goal, then you can strategize around it.
How is the company prepared for expansion and growth?
How will you sustain yourself financially?
Thinking bigger picture allows you collect a broader range of strategies that will help you more adequately assess the action items needed.
2. Nail down what you bring to the table.
Now that you know some of the strategies you need to undertake, understand how your particular strengths will get you to your goals.
An easy way to tackle this is to ask yourself, “What are some of the strategies that I look forward to doing?”
Be honest with yourself, your strengths and your work habits.
Then, by looking at the rest of the strategy items, identify the ones that you can do, but you are just are not that excited about.
You should also know which ones that — based on your skillset — you're not the best fit for.
For example, I enjoy marketing.
I would prefer not to manage shipping logistics, even though I'm capable of it.
But, I cannot do the backend work on the company website, although it is a necessary strategy item for the company.
Understanding your strengths and weakness clearly is key before looking for someone else.
3. Seek a complementing partner.
The tasks you identify as outside of your skill set, but necessary to reach your goal, give you a guideline for narrowing down your business partner choices.
Find partners that complement your strengths and also have a passion for the company.
Kind of sounds like dating, right?
It may be a daunting task, as you may not know of anyone willing to start a company full time or even part time at first.
Other great resources (besides friends and family) to consider are acquaintances, past co-workers, referrals from mentors.
You can even go on websites dedicated to finding your co-founder match.
Expand your professional online circle.
Attend networking events.
Post a job description on your website or social media channels.
The more you put yourself out there, the more your candidate pool expands.
4. Work together.
Once you find a good candidate, work with him or her for a while to see if that person is a perfect fit.
This is a very important step that some entrepreneurs skip over.
Give the candidate the opportunity to prove him or herself. Ask the candidate many questions.
You may be so excited to begin or expand that you may hire or give equity to someone way too quickly.
The candidate may look good on paper, but your mission and goals for the startup may not align, which is more easily detectable after getting to know each other.
Have specific projects that he or she can work on that have measurable results.
Then, after measuring the goals, determine if he or she is necessary for the team.
Business partners can become your greatest asset or worst liability.
By taking time to plan out your business goals and identify your personal strengths, it becomes easier to find the most capable person to complement you in business and align with you in your business mission.