Teaming up with someone to start a company is something that you might find necessary for several reasons.
First of all, it makes fundraising easier. You’re not raising the money on your own. Second, the admin work becomes easier, seeing as how you get to split responsibilities. The problem is that teaming up with the wrong person might be worse than being alone.
With that in mind and without further ado, here are the top 8 qualities to look for when picking the right co-founders to build a successful startup team:
1. Someone Who Shares Your Vision
Don’t confuse interests with vision. One of the biggest mistakes people can make when picking a co-founder is looking for someone with the same interests when, in fact, you should be searching for someone who shares the same vision.
The interest is always the same – growing a business, increasing its profits, and creating a legacy. How you get there is where people tend to differ, and it will determine your corporate culture, mission, and the ideals guiding your growth.
In other words, it determines your every day, not just the end goal.
2. Someone Who You Can Talk To
The key to any partnership is communication. This means sharing information even when the going gets tough.
It’s easy to find a fair-weather partner. You need someone who’s not afraid to disagree with you, someone who will stand up for you and stand up against you when they believe you’re making a mistake. You need someone to keep you in line and keep you in check.
As for the employees, you’re looking for the same qualities – someone who isn’t afraid to speak their mind.
3. A Person With A Positive Outlook
While this shouldn’t be a determining factor, finding people who make you feel good is always a huge plus.
There are indeed some partnerships that are functional even though the people running them don’t personally like each other. However, working in a toxic environment will erode not just your mental health but also your will to invest your time and effort.
Instead, find people who you want to work with. Positive people. But be careful if you choose to work with your friends. Starting a business with their friends often ends badly.
4. A Person Who Puts Safety Before Productivity
If you want your business to succeed, you have to put safety before productivity. A single mistake is enough to ruin your business or someone’s life.
Depending on your type of business, you may need to consult industry experts to determine if you need specialized insurance or special training for your team.
And remember, not all injuries are physical. You might consider consulting experts in psychological injury. Slips and trips aren’t the only hazards in today’s workplace. Be sure you and your co-founders are on the same page regarding safety and company culture.
5. Someone Who You Can Truly Trust
Surround yourself with people you can trust. Even if your potential partner brings a skill set, connection, or money to the table, unless you can trust them, your relationship won’t make it in the long run, and neither will your business.
Business partnerships are like marriages. Don’t fall in love for the wrong reasons, or it will all end in a messy divorce.
6. Someone Who Has a Track Record of Competence
Remember that your partner is not just someone with whom you’re splitting your expenses but also someone with whom you will share administrative tasks.
Competence comes with experience and training. Unless your co-founder has a verifiable track record, you’re taking a big risk on how well they can deliver on their end of the bargain.
7. Someone Who’s Willing & Able To Put In The Hours
As an entrepreneur, you’ll be all-in, which is why you need people ready and willing to do the same.
If you team up with someone who can’t come to work early and leave late or are unwilling to go above and beyond for the company, your relationship will not succeed, and neither will your startup.
Before you pick your co-founders, set expectations for time, effort, and availability. And build in a mechanism in your partnership agreement to kick out co-founders who don’t hold up their end of the bargain.
8. Be Careful Who You Take Money From
Lastly, some people are eager to invest, which may sound ideal, yet every time you accept funds, you must ask yourself whether you’re making a commitment that might hurt your enterprise in the long run.
Sure, you may feel like you need this money to run your business, but sometimes, in exchange for funds, you trade the control of your own company. This usually doesn’t end up being a wise choice.