How to Pick The Right Co-Founder For Your Startup

Many factors go into building and growing a successful startup:

  • Adequately identifying and fulfilling a market need
  • Adequate financing
  • A viable business model
  • Marketing

Building the right team – specifically, having the right co-founder or co-founders - is another critical but mostly overlooked factor.

Finding a co-founder can be challenging.

However, there are tips founders can use to find someone with the necessary skill sets to partner with.

But first, let's look at why you might need a co-founder for your startup

Why should you have a co-founder?

There are three main reasons you should consider having a co-founder when you're starting a company.

  • Increase productivity: Having a co-founder can help you get a lot more work done because you have someone to divide the work up with. 

Also, you can get much better work done and achieve more results if you have a co-founder who has complementary skills, so they can do things that you can't.

Imagine having a co-founder who has a marketing and sales background, while your strength is on the technical side of things. That is someone who compliments you.

You have someone you can brainstorm with and come up with better ideas than you could have doing it all alone. That is the benefit of having a co-founder.

  • Provide Moral & Emotional Support: We all know that building and growing a startup is an intense and tasking journey. 

Having someone you can lean on for support during tough times is key because tough times will come.

It is important for the co-founders to build a strong and dynamic relationship where both co-founders can balance each other out.

  • Better Decision-making: You don’t want your startup to run like a military dictatorship where you make and take every decision all by yourself. That’s one of the quickest ways to fail.

With a co-founder, not only would he/she act as a sounding board for all your thoughts, but also actively aid in better decision-making.

You both will come up with more ideas through brainstorming and also will be better equipped to close the gaps in those ideas by questioning each other's ideas.

How To Choose The Right Co-Founder(s)

Now that you know why you should get a co-founder, let's look at how to choose the best co-founder that would complement your skill and help you build a successful startup.

1. Define and understand your core values

Whether you're trying to hire an employee, bring in a consultant or choose a co-founder, defining a solid set of core values is a great way to start.

Your core values help you determine your priorities, goals and the decisions you’re willing to make. 

Are you a competitive or a collaborative person? 

Are you a workaholic who doesn’t care about work-life balance? 

Are you a customer-focused person, or you are just about your business and how to make money? 

Focus on the values that make you different from others. They should be who you are, not who you hope to be.

2. Assess your strengths and weaknesses

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. But the key is being aware of what yours are. The goal is to leverage your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses. 

Successful startup founders/co-founders have figured out where their strength lies and where they struggle; then they consciously surround themselves with the right environment and right people. 

It can be tempting to want a co-founder who is just like you but the truth is, it’s better to find someone who complements you in the right way to benefit the future of your company.

3. Find the right combination of co-founders

Having balanced co-founders is more likely to increase the success of Startups. Many founders make the mistake of finding a co-founder who is exactly like them, instead of someone with complementary skills.

For instance, startups should not have two people that are both tech-focused and nobody that understands the business or marketing side of running a startup. When seeking a co-founder, make sure that you get someone who complements your skills.

4. Trust Is Important

It’s important that founders find partners that they can trust. 

Every great relationship starts and ends with trust.

5. Ensure you both have the same level of passion

Running a startup can be frustrating, and brings out the best and worst in people. 

A large percentage of startups fail due to internal team conflict and friction among co-founders.

Difficult times and situations can be overcome if the co-founders have the same level of passion and goal for the company to grow.

What’s next?

Now that you know the steps to finding the right co-founder, building a successful startup doesn’t end there. You need strategy and processes to go along with it.

You can put your startup growth processes on auto-pilot with the right strategy and tools. 
Let’s work together to help you build the next unicorn startup.


Leave a Reply