Being the founder of a start-up, there is little to compare it to. It is therefore not abnormal that you are looking for someone who wants to work with you on your idea. Someone who understands like no other what you are going through and who you can always fall back on. But what should you look for when looking for a co-founder? We listed five points that you better pay some extra attention to!
When you’re looking for a co-founder, it’s best to take a moment to consider what your strengths and weaknesses are. The ideal co-founder will balance them. Are you a marketer? Then it’s best to look for someone with a technical background. One builds, one sells’ is a popular approach in the start-up world.
But also in terms of personality, your co-founder is best complementary. If you are more of a pessimist, then look for an optimist. If you describe yourself as an extrovert, your co-founder might be more introverted.
So complementarity is a must. Someone who looks at things differently than you does allows you to challenge each other and approach problems from different angles. And that ultimately makes your start-up stronger!
#2 … yet in tune
We mentioned above that your co-founder should not be too much like you – but there are some things you should not disagree on too much. What values you hold dear, for example. Shared values are crucial in collaboration. If you don’t see each other in it, it will be difficult to determine which tactics, employees,… do or don’t fit your start-up.
You also need to share the same vision. There’s a reason you came up with this idea and this start-up. Make sure your partner shares that same passion. Are you on the same page when it comes to the future? Maybe you want to build a large company, but your future co-founder is more interested in selling and cashing in quickly.
Are you on the same page when it comes to the future?
Also make sure that you are on the same page when it comes to working conditions. What will you pay out? What about working hours? What about holidays? Checking with each other beforehand can save you a lot of frustration later on.
As a founder, you need to pivot often and be able to catch every ball that is thrown to you. You will face many challenges that you will have to overcome time and again. Someone who can adapt quickly to new situations and who does not block at every small change, is therefore a must. If your co-founder is struggling to adapt, it will inevitably put a brake on your business.
But your co-founder also needs to be flexible in other ways. After all, as the leader of a start-up company, you are responsible for just about everything. One minute you’re pitching to potential investors, the next you’re dragging office supplies around. Someone who only wants to stick to a strictly defined set of tasks and feels too good for ‘the little things’? That’s not gonna work.
You want someone who takes the company to the next level, but at the same time realizes that the little things that keep the company running are important too – and therefore doesn’t feel too good about taking on those trivial tasks.
As founder of a company, it is relatively easy to embezzle money or carry out other illegal practices. And it doesn’t even have to be that extreme. There are also many other seemingly innocuous things that can compromise the ethics within a company. All of which can cause permanent damage to your business.
You have to be able to put your hand in the fire for your co-founder.
Someone who is honest and who you can trust, is certainly not an unnecessary luxury. Also tell your future co-founder that you expect this of him or her. Without honest communication between the two of you, things can go wrong very quickly. And be one hundred percent sure that you can put your hand in the fire for your future co-founder.
Tip: also record all agreements in a
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, tells us something about the way people deal with their own emotions and those of others. Unlike IQ, you can work on your EQ. In general, a higher EQ will be a greater guarantee of success, although there are plenty of examples of ‘spirited’ founders who have gone far with their company. But honestly, do you really want to work closely with someone like that?
A start-up involves a lot of ups and downs – so chances are you’ll lose your temper, get really angry, or maybe even be paralysed by all the intense emotions. The trick is to be able to handle these emotions, remain calm and continue with the order of the day.
Just like in love the one true does not exist, you will probably never find the perfect co-founder. But if you keep these five things in mind, the chances of a happily ever after are a lot higher!