Why choosing a co-founder is like choosing a spouse

In Summary

•The relationship between you and your co-founder is more like a life-long partnership.

•Do not rush into choosing a co-founder. 

How well you get along with your co-founder speaks a lot about where the company is headed.
How well you get along with your co-founder speaks a lot about where the company is headed.
Image: SHUTTERSTOCK

Entrepreneurship is all about making decisions. Sometimes, life-long decisions. The success of your start-up depends on you making the right decisions at the right time. One of the most important decisions you have to make is the choice of your co-founder or confounders. Elon Musk says that the human brain cannot cope with business failure. Starting a business is like staring into the abyss. A lot could go wrong. The secret lies in having a co-founder that will make the storms bearable. This is why choosing a cofounder is like choosing a life partner.

Here are questions you should ask yourself when assessing potential co-founders;

Do you know your co-founder well enough?

The relationship between you and your co-founder is more like a life-long partnership. Do not rush into choosing a co-founder. While having skills that complement each other is key, how you get along on an interpersonal level is important as well. How well you get along with your co-founder speaks a lot about where the company is headed.  The more seamless the energy and trust, the higher the chances of success.

 This doesn’t mean you must be best of friends. Do not choose a co-founder just because they are your friend. The relationship could later evolve in ways that don't favor the business.

Do you know what your business needs?

This is the most important step to consider. You need to fully understand what your company is about. Fully grasping things like what services you will be offering, the logistics, your client list, the location of your business will enable you to pick the right cofounder.

 For example, if your product is tech-based and your background is majorly in finance and operations, you will look for a tech co-founder to complement your skillset.

Do you want more than one?

Most people think that a company can only have one co-founder which is far from the truth. There are dozens of startups out there with three or more co-founders. However, there is a fine line between more than two and too many. Do an in-depth analysis of your company and what your product is centered around. Hire for the other roles to support the business growth you anticipate.

 Does your potential co-founder have a lifespan skill?

Assess your potential co-founder’s skillset to gauge how long they will remain relevant in the company. Some skills and talents tend to outlive the current hiring need.

On the other hand, some skills will be good for the early stage of your startup to lay a strong foundation and boost growth, but they become obsolete later. If this is the case, it is recommended that you hire such individuals instead of making them your co-founder.

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