16 Qualities of a Great Co-founder
After coming up with an idea for a company, it is important to consider having a partner. The ideal startup has two partners, one is good at building the product while the other is good at selling. Going alone isn’t bad at all if you are good at both skill-sets of building and selling, it works too. However, if you decide to get a partner who brings in a complimentary skill set that you lack, there are several things to consider before settling on that co-founder;
A shared vision
A great co-founder has to be someone with whom you have a shared vision. When opening a business, you need to have goals and aspirations.
If you are looking for a partner, they have to share the same goals and aspirations for you to align your vision together.
Shared core values
Core values are usually ingrained within people as they grow up. They come out of experiences through life. It is important to understand your co-founder’s values and principles.
If you have conflicting views on major principles, it is probably going to be tough to align your goals, systems, and working culture.
Passion is the only thing that will keep you and your co-founder going when business gets tough. When you start the company and get a co-founder who only wants to build the company because it is an avenue to wealth, the difficult days will get extremely rocky and impossible to beat.
The ideal co-founder is someone as passionate as you are (or even more than you are) about the idea and problems you are solving in the society through your company.
Shared entrepreneurial spirit
Obviously, you are an entrepreneur at heart if you have decided to come up with a startup geared towards solving a particular problem.
The thing about entrepreneurs is that they take costly but calculated risks. That adventurous aspect always wants to be channelled at something. Entrepreneurs are willing to grind very hard to build a company from nothing. They are intelligent, and brilliant problem solvers.
All these aspects need to exist in your co-founder. This is the spirit of entrepreneurship, and a co-founder who has this will push you to do better every time.
Logical & realistic
Dreams are nice. Luxuries are so attractive. For some people that is the end goal. For entrepreneurs, that as an end goal is usually good motivation.
However, don’t dream too fast, be logical and realise that the world we live in has many aspects that slow you down to getting those dreams. Look at every factor in play.
Getting a co-founder who is realistic and makes rational decisions after giving thought of consequences will allow you both to spend wisely and grow gradually. Set realistic and logical goals, stay patient until you get there.
Ambitious & dedicated
Ambition is very good motivation. At the very least, it is what keeps you going when you doubt your passion. However, ambition without dedication to get there is pointless.
Dedication is the only way you get something out of your passion and get closer to your ambitions. A co-founder should be ambitious and understanding that it takes dedication to achieve ambition.
It takes a lot of time, money and effort to start a company. It is a huge investment and you don’t want to have someone you cannot trust as a partner.
When you are away from the company at any point, having a co-founder you can entrust the business with while you are away will give you peace of mind.
This co-founder will carry out your tasks and responsibilities without any kind of dishonesty, and that is key to a startup’s success.
Has complimentary skillset
When you have a varied skill set in your company, it benefits the startup because you don’t have to hire for every other task.
A co-founder should have the skills that you don’t. Find out the things you are poor at doing in your company and get a co-founder who compensates for your shortcoming.
An understanding co-founder will be ready to listen to customers and comprehend their concerns. Also, they will understand when you change the focus of a certain goal. Conversations between you and the co-founder will be a lot smoother if you can both understand each other’s points of view.
Open to correction
There is nothing as good as a co-founder who is humble to accept that sometimes they will be wrong and embrace suggested ways to make things right.
Sometimes as a founder you might make a wrong decision, you need a co-founder that always thinks independently. When you both discuss decisions to take, the co-founder will open your eyes to a whole new way of approaching the problem at hand.
With both your perspective and theirs, there is bound to be one that will act as a plan B in case the main course of action fails.
Additionally, when you are away from the company and a decision needs to be made, the co-founder as an independent thinker must be able to make the best decision for the company without being influenced by external sources.
A co-founder should be a team player. They should motivate the team or work peacefully with the team. They are an example to the team at every single point. They should know how to lead discussions, work, etc., as well as roll-up their sleeves and work with the team too.
Most partnerships fail due to miscommunication. It is important that a co-founder communicates with you in case of anything. When they will not make it for a meeting they should communicate early so that you can plan otherwise. When they are going through a difficult time that’s affecting their work you should know too. As they deal with clients and the team, communication will be very critical for growth.
Comfortable with conflict
Disagreements are bound to happen through your partnership. Most conflicts usually end in compromise for both parties. When the co-founder is okay with conflict it means that they know conflict encourages growth and change in perceptions, knowledge, systems and ideals.
They should also speak up when they feel something is not right without being disrespectful.
A co-founder who understands their strengths and weaknesses is someone who knows themselves. Talking about the strengths and weaknesses of each other fosters trust and acts as a good foundation for a relationship bound to grow.
After talking to your co-founder, you should feel motivated. Not discouraged. When challenges come and try to kill the passion, talking to one another will be the only source of motivation.
Have I left anything out? Let me know by tweeting us at @thepressfarm.