So, you’ve got a great start-up idea. You’ve researched, you’ve experienced, you’ve decided that two minds are better than one. Where do you find your business-soul-mate? The co-founder.
There are many websites out there with pools of people searching to find the right co-founder or to be ‘found’ themselves and join a start-up. You may have a few potential candidates on your own that you could consider for co-founder: Friends, family, co-workers. Perhaps you can’t think of anyone offhand.There was a time when I was faced with that same question.
For me, it all came down to trust and compatibility in skillsets and character.
Trust is pretty straightforward. You either trust someone with your idea or you don’t. You can build trust, but there needs to be an initial seed of trust from the start. If you’re searching for that cofounder on a website, you’re going to have to count on your gut feeling right off the bat. It’s somewhat like rolling the dice. Whether, you’ve been co-founder-dating from a website or you’re considering candidates from family or friendships, if you feel that little twinge of doubt then trust that little voice inside you. Listen to it and the decision to keep looking will become an open and shut case.
Compatibility is different. Certainly, it’s difficult to assess compatibility from co-founder-dating. We all tend to put forth our best features in the beginning. It’s when the $#!! hits the fan that the compatibility-waters will be tested. How do you know if you’re compatible with a friend or family member if you’ve never collaborated with them before or for long enough to get to really know them from a business sense?
There is an old and famous saying by John D. Rockefeller: “A friendship built on business can be glorious, while a business built on friendship can be murder.”
I’m a strong believer that a founder’s greatest strength is in having built a solid network of people from past working experiences. When you’ve worked with people through good and bad situations, you see who they are and sometimes trust is developed over time. You certainly don’t trust everyone in your network with everything, but you can trust what you know of people as they can with you. It makes sense to consider your network to fill jobs within your company. This is especially true of the co-founder. If you can pinpoint someone that you’ve been through various work situations with and you feel that you compliment each other’s skillsets and character, a seed of trust may be there. It’s worth looking into.
It may sound daunting at first, the idea that you can find all these qualities of a co-founder in one person; trust along with compatibility in skillets and character. I never said it was going to be easy, but if your ideal co-founder is somewhere in your network, you’re in a better position to identify him there than from starting from scratch. I truly believe that when founding team members have collaborated in the past, there is a better chance at growth and stability for your venture.