Two heads are better than one. Typically, the most successful companies start with a partnership.
Take Ben & Jerry’s, for example. This ice cream empire was started by two school friends, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. When their previous plans didn’t work out, they joined forces to create one of the most well-known ice cream brands in the United States.
“When we first started, it was just a lark. We never expected to have anything more than that one homemade ice cream shop, but now Jerry and I are millionaires,” Cohen once said. “Our relationship hasn’t changed at all … Food has always been our binding tie — food and our girth.” (Devaney.)
A cofounder is a partner who complements your skillset. Together, you can build a successful business.
One builds, one sells. One designs, one markets. When two people with different skill sets work together, your chances of success increase.
Launching a startup can be an intense and very challenging experience. Another person can not only physically lighten the load, but be a source of emotional and moral support.
It’s simple. Two people can accomplish a lot more than just one person. With a cofounder, or a team of cofounders, the work can be divided and you can make progress faster.
It’s time to find a cofounder when you have a good idea, but need help with specifics in your business. Know your strengths and weaknesses and realize when you need help. For instance, if you are a tech genius, you may want to hire someone that complements you and can help with your business plan, sales, and marketing. Alternatively, if you plan to go into a specialized field such as healthcare or manufacturing, depending on your expertise, you may want to consider hiring an expert in such fields to help you navigate product development, regulations, and sales.
Make sure you have the basics in place before you bring on another person. Have a goal, a plan, and an idea of what you have to offer. It may help to have a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) in place before you look for a cofounder. This will help them catch your vision.
Finding the right co-founder is an important step. Don’t take this decision lightly. Take your time, and really evaluate each candidate before you take this important step.
A startup can be an extremely stressful endeavor. How does your potential cofounder handle stress? How well can they help you handle stress? Look for someone who is cool under pressure, because, as we all know, there will be pressure.
Make sure your cofounder is on board with your vision for your startup. How do they spend their time? What are their priorities? A startup is going to be time consuming. Make sure you are both committed to your goal. A shared vision is a must for long-term success of a startup. For instance, at AbstractOps, an early stage startup solving operations for startups, our co-founders met and decided to start this venture based on a strong shared vision.
If you don’t like to talk in front of people, find someone who loves to be in the spotlight. If your strength is tech, find someone who is business savvy. You don’t want to find an identical set of skills and traits. Search for someone who is complementary to your weaknesses.
A cofounder is someone you are going to spend a lot of time with. Is this someone who will treat you and others fairly? Their ethics and behavior will be representing you and your company. What do they portray to the world? Make sure the person you choose as a cofounder is trustworthy.
Once you’ve found a potential cofounder, make sure you take things slowly. Start with a test period and make sure it really is a perfect match. Ease into onboarding. If the relationship is going to fail, it’s better to find out at the beginning!
Start with people you know personally. If your cofounder is someone you already know (remember Ben & Jerry?) you will have a foundation of personal knowledge already in place. That will make the whole process a little easier!
There are so many websites geared towards startups! I’ve compiled a list of the most popular websites below.
Look to your own network first. Check LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. There may be someone you already know who would be perfect for the job. If you don’t already have a social media presence, now is the time to start!
Use your networking skills to contact previous coworkers. Who do you know that has the skill set to be a cofounder for your startup?
1. CoFoundersLab has a database of 400,000+ potential cofounders from many different locations! After you sign up, the site uses AI to determine your unique needs and narrow the search for you.
2. AngelList is a startup hiring platform. It isn’t just for finding a cofounder, but has investors, employers, and potential cofounders all looking for a match.
3. FoundersNation has brief profiles of entrepreneurs looking for business opportunities. It almost feels like a dating website! Browse posts, and you may find the perfect cofounder.
4. YouNoodle uses contests to form connections! Use this unique site to connect with investors, cofounders, and other founders.
5. StartHawk is a free community where entrepreneurs can connect.
6. LeadCandy brings all your social media accounts together to help you search your contacts for the connection you need.
If Ben and Jerry hadn’t pursued their ice cream dreams together, where would they be now? A team effort will significantly increase your startup’s chance of success. Two heads really are better than one.
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