“Successful companies are started, and made successful, by at least two, and usually more, soulmates. After the fact, one person may come to be recognized as “the innovator,” but it always takes a team of good people to make any venture work.”
– Guy Kawasaki
American marketing specialist, author, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist
The co-founder is that partner with whom you would want to travel the journey of your passion, create history and change lives. When your dream venture is still in your eyes, and you have just begun taking your first steps, partnering with the soulmates is an important phenomenon. Startups fail to survive co-founder conflicts. Hence, it is important to scrutinize a potential co-founder. Apart from all the technical qualifications, you need to understand the entrepreneurial wiring. This scrutiny becomes intense if the co-founder is going to be a first-time entrepreneur.
Here are some questions, answers to which will help you to find the right partner before you lock the founding team:
1. What is the reason that the person wants to be a co-founder?
When you have already conceived the venture in your brain, passion is your key driver.
Passion gives you the strength to sail to through highs and lows. But what is the output that a prospective co-founder wants to achieve out of the association? Does he/she share the same passion or is there an inclination to reap on the fame and money which the venture may bring in? Or is it something else? It is important to understand this thought process which will help the team keep winning in the toughest of times.
2. Is the person comfortable switching between a leader and a follower?
At a startup you do everything that you can attribute to its progress. You wear multiple hats on a daily basis and need to be comfortable switching between them. If a person is resistant to change or finds the transition difficult then that is something your venture cannot afford.
3. Does the person have the ability to keep the spark alive with an unwavering commitment towards completing tasks?
At a startup, it is all about implementation. You will need to observe if your business partner can maintain the excitement in doing things even if the path is bumpy. If not, then you will be faced with a situation where a lot of tasks are left open-ended or half done affecting your morale and enthusiasm.
4. How will your co-founder handle success or failure?
Being an entrepreneur is tougher than you would ever imagine before starting the journey. In the very beginning, it is important to gauge how a prospective co-founder defines and handles success and failure. Because every time it might not work out as planned; the person must have the ability to see that bright dot even in the darkest of times. As an entrepreneur, you are working on a lot of new things, and you tend to experiment a lot. Only if you get a kick from success as well as failure, you are eligible for sitting in the driving seat.
The relationship between the co-founders can be a great driver for the business, but at the same time if it doesn’t work it can prove to be equally detrimental. Before you tie the knot, do work out your observations and act accordingly.