Startup founders: Are you walking blindfolded into the startup world? Once a business idea comes, many people take off with it. The excitement and potential success of it consume them and additional ideas start to flow. Maybe a friend, classmate, or family member joins forces with them to execute on the idea or…maybe not.
Many founders start out as “solopreneurs”, defined as a business owner who works and runs their business alone. Although this may seem ideal for the introvert, it’s not ideal for the long term if there are aspirations of having a wildly successful, scalable business. Being a solopreneur puts limits on your growth—there’s only so much one person can do. Inc.com did a great article on the topic, but as a general rule, it’s not wise to build a startup alone. How many successful companies do you know with just one founder?
The Alternative – Co-Founders
Although many start out alone, at some point, founders will consider bringing on one or two co-founders to help with the business. Building a business from scratch is too much for one person. Typically, investors will not invest in a startup with one founder–the risk of failure is just too great. Thus, it’s critical to enlist the help of others with as much stake in the success of the business as you. A team is required to take the business from idea to execution, and through to product-market fit, otherwise, you’ll find yourself moving to slow to gain the traction (and income) you need to stick with it and remain motivated. However, adding co-founders should not be taken lightly. There are many considerations, both legally and personally, that must be sorted out before introducing additional stakeholders to the company. After all, as a co-founder, a person shares in all responsibilities and decision-making moving forward. In addition, you’ll spend most of your time with them…yes MOST. In the early stages, you’ll probably spend more time with them than with your family.
Typically, investors will not invest in a startup with one founder–the risk of failure is just too great. Thus, it’s critical to enlist the help of others with as much stake in the success of the business as you. Click To Tweet
Just like you would in any other long-term relationship, you need to date your co-founder before legally finalizing the relationship. You’ll need to go through some rough patches, ups and downs, disagreements, and tough decisions to decide if this relationship is going to work well enough to create a stable, sustainable company. If the answer to that is unfavorable, you need to kiss a few more frogs…back to the drawing board. This doesn’t mean that you can’t continue working on and building the company in the meantime. In fact, you must continue to create value and make progress so that you are able to sell the vision to a prospective co-founder. If you’re asking someone to work with you, full-time, at no pay or drastically reduced pay, you’ll need to have a heck of a sales pitch as well as tangible signs of progress, leadership, and personal commitment.
At TPM Focus, we quite often do webinars and livestreaming on this topic because we’ve found that many people walk blindfolded into co-founding situations which result in disappointment, lost time, and broken relationships. It’s heartache that couldn’t come at a worse time than when you’re building a new business, are low on resources, and need every bit of help you can get!
If you’re asking someone to work with you, full-time, at no pay or drastically reduced pay, you’ll need to have a heck of a sales pitch as well as tangible signs of progress, leadership, and personal commitment. Click To Tweet
What has your experience been in finding a co-founder? How has it worked out for you? Please share your stories.
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