When Proctor and Gamble of P&G fame had decided to pool in their resources in a bid to acquire their common raw materials more easily, they had unwittingly conceptualized something that would go on to become a 230 Billion Dollar Chain and revolutionize the homecare industry altogether.
This is what a synced, maddening enthusiasm and a drive for the common goal could do. This is the blessing of a valuable cofounder. In 2018, with an increasing number of startups being registered every day, the co-founder is the connecting link in the various stories of the business continuity and expansion. The co-founder is as good as the significant other while running a company and for the very same reason, must be wisely chosen. A perfect partner can translate your vision and creativity into upward scaling sales and profit whereas, it is just as true for the corresponding opposite. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the essence of having the right person on board. You might be knowing how to find the right co-founder, but realizing and landing one up is the table turner.
Do you really need a Cofounder?
A cofounder literally means an extra pair of hands and a differing perspective in your initial days. But the need for one has to be carefully assessed or else, too many cooks often spoil the broth. There are a few things to ask yourself.
Why do you need another person? What does the other person bring to the table? What are the qualities you are looking for? In case, of a fallout are you ready to mitigate yourself out of it? A cofounder very preciously can provide expertise from a different field which is integral to the growth of your company, which is why diversifying the visionaries behind a firm helps a great deal. Moreover, it helps to have a psychological, financial support when holding the reigns of a major responsibility.
If you are a tech person, looking for diversification in the competitive market, join forces with a marketing expert. Similarly, a co-founder can also be helpful in expanding your base in real time to a different location and creating niches in various online and offline sites. It can provide an automatic extension of your clientele with increased sales. The technical expertise of Anne Wojcicki had been instrumental in aiding Linda Avey to build what can be called the leading name in genetic research.
Assess the situation and the demands of your business in real time and then decide about having a cofounder. The bottom line of the endeavor is to increase the productivity and not hamper the procedurals.
What to look for?
Often we come across stories of enviable corporate partnerships and brilliance translating into the success of the brand. And just as frequently, we see the stories of cofounder’s relation turning sour. There can be no guarantee to human behavior but there can definitely be some pointers of a good work partner and a bad one.
A team of personnel running a firm can have people with vastly varying backgrounds but they need to be driven by a common goal. A good cofounder will assist you in your ventures but a great cofounder will establish new ventures with you. Compatibility is the keystone your company and processes can be safely built upon. A good cofounder will complement your skills paving the way for more efficient functioning and smoother processes. When Hewlett was serving in the World War II Army, Packard had diligently carried on the business and reciprocally, Hewlett had taken charge when Packard was serving in the US Govt. Incidentally, they had also founded the cornerstone of the modern Silicon Valley- the HP Brand.
Just like any relationship, and even more so in a dynamic entity like a startup- the essence is trust. The world has witnessed several Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs but the story of their respective Paul Allens and Eduardo Saverin remains vastly hushed. The predicament dictates- If you can trust the person with your life, you can trust them with your company. Ensure there is no hushed up closet to relegate any topics to and that the communication channels remain crystal clear.
Establish the Ground Rules
A cofounder is not just another employee but an actual important team member who can turn around the fate of your firm. The first mate of the ship can run the voyage into or away from an iceberg and that’s how valuable the right co-founder is. However, before settling down for any arrangement, appreciation, and implementation of certain ground rules can be healthy. The sharing of equity, signing of paperwork and legal settlements are preliminary.
Agree upon and decide the extent and areas of responsibilities to be shared and managed by each. This gives each a peaceful domain to function in as well as merging the common ground to be an agreed upon the terrain of functioning. Also, the communication timeline is imperative. Decisions must run through each other in all their transparency. The schedule can vary from setup to setup. It can have an hourly or daily interaction or a monthly sharing of status report. It needs to complement your office setup and working hours.
A big deal of time and effort goes into conceptualizing, realizing and working out the details of a startup. Yet, in a population of thriving, creative minds we have a reality of over 90% enterprises backfiring. The reason being the background work is built on a weaker foundation compared to the secondary process of rendering services. This should be enough to indicate the importance of setting a solid foundation based on a productive partnership between the co-founders. A common thirst and fire in the belly like that shared by Larry Page and Sergey Brin can revolutionize the world, quite literally (Google it!). In other cases, the names of individuals get immortalized as one, etched in the minds of millions as a testimony to the wonderful corporate relation they shared. Thus, if you want your startup story to have a sweet ending like Ben and Jerry’s you know the essential determinant driving them on.