Startup continues to be a buzz word in India with thousands of companies becoming a part of the community every year, beginning their journey of materialising their ideas into reality. But with all the glamour and the charm associated with the startup world, the fact remains that only a handful of them make it to the success. If building a startup is hard, picking up a
right co-founder is even harder. One of the primary reasons for startups failing is the frequency mismatch amongst the cofounders. For a successful journey, having co-founders with similar zeal and chemistry is extremely critical.
This quote from Henry ford aptly sums it up – “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is a success.”
Here are 5 key pointers which will help you to get the perfect Cofounder’s Chemistry
1. Co-founder from a Close Network – Trust is the cornerstone of any relationship, and that is certainly not possible to build in a short term. Thus, you should preferably look for the right partner within your inner network, as it will have a history of the relationship. Additionally, one should take time to explore more about the Co-founder interest and personality outside the office. Finding some common hobbies or sports to get acquainted and bond will help before giving away shareholding in your company. Remember, business partnerships are long-term relationships and you want to be sure so take your time getting acquainted before shaking hands.
2. Having difficult conversations upfront– Somethings are easier said than done. When you are looking for a co-founder and meet a potential one in the early stage, the tendency is to avoid difficult conversations as you want to keep the ball rolling as soon as possible. However, it is extremely critical to recognize that it is important for you to have frank and direct conversations about the roles, responsibilities, and who will have what authority apart from the ownership share amongst the partners. Irrespective of the how good the relationship you enjoy today, only one of you will need to make the final decision on hard issues. Do not keep things open solely based on a leap of faith before choosing a business partner.
3. Unflinching Respect and Trust – The startup journey is full of ups, downs and unforeseen situation and it is common to have disagreements and differences. There might be need for multiple pivots, hard days, tough arguments especially in the
startup ecosystem when most of the things are at the sketch and designing stage. Knowing each other well and respecting for the strength and weaknesses alike will be key to emerge victorious in this journey. Egos must be kept aside and blame
game should be avoided. It is important to keep discussing each other’s strengths and shortcomings and keep working on them consistently to turn your brainchild idea into reality.
4. Shared Passion and Vision – The potential co-founder might have an impeccable track record and a wealth of experience but if there is a difference in the vision, working style, and goals-setting, things may not be fruitful for long-term and
eventually, the partnership will fail. The potential co-founder needs to be sharing the dream with a similar passion as yours.
5. Complementary Skill set- One must do a thorough assessment and seek the right partner with a different background and different strengths complimenting your strengths and weaknesses. For instance, companies shouldn’t have two people that
are both tech-focused and don’t understand the business or marketing elements of running a startup. It will also be great to get differential personality traits too. For example, having two people who are afraid of public speaking won’t benefit the
startup since they will have to pitch to investors, speak to clients, present in front of accelerators, and more. If one co-founder is shy, it’s best to have another person who is more outgoing and has confidence in speaking in front of people. Each of the co-founder’s strengths will support the other. While the above pointers do not guarantee a sure shot way for a successful startup, but if practised thoroughly they do help in having a sound launch pad. Last but not the least, make
sure you have a mentor or an advisor that you all can trust, whom you can go to whenever you are in a dilemma or unsure about the business direction in which way to move especially during uncertain times.