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Hiring a Co-Founder? 6 things to discuss

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Many hands make light work – true that. There are numerous stories of multiple leaders starting up and building super successful companies – Larry Page and Sergey Brin co-founded Google, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple and closer home, Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. Multiple founders come together,united in one passion, to execute their business plans with the acumen of many combined. However, it is not all rosy working in teams – clashes of ideas, conflicts on methodology will occur frequently and must be dealt with maturity for the venture to succeed. Here are some important things to think about before beginning your hunt for a co-founder -

  1. Scope your needs properly. The various co-founders should all bring different skill-sets to the table. A good company must deliver on technological ideas, marketing and advertising, sales, promotion, good investment etc. So, if you’re an amazing tech-oriented person, try to rope in an aggressive businessperson and vice-versa. A co-founding team with complimentary skills and experiences will have high chances of succeeding. More than one partner are also better equipped emotionally and skill-wise to handle crises. Multi-tasking becomes easier as well – one partner may engage in business meetings while the other may look over the running of the company. So, if you find people who are similarly motivated and passionate and ready to work hard on similar ideas, you may consider teaming up with them for your entrepreneurial venture.

  2. Decide upon your temperament. Different people work differently. While some do not mind sharing the power and credits along with the responsibilites, some do. You have to figure out your method of working. If the team gets involved in frequent fights culminating in dead-ends and no solutions, the better idea may be to dissolve the partnership. Working with others for long periods of time is not easy. One has to be prepared to participate in long discussions, get vetoed, present convincing arguments and modify their ideas. People with a strong will and difficulties in backing down should think carefully before getting on board with multiple partners. Again, people who easily sway to others’ ideas should also think along the same lines. Working amidst leaders, while certainly enriching and rewarding, is also compelling and requires presence of mind.

  3. Division of money and equity between co-founders should be taken care of properly and soon. This is the most important and also the least important question while starting up. If you people are similarly passionate about the idea – a good, honest discussion some months of working down the line should take care of the issue. However, people also want to be duly rewarded for the efforts they’re putting in. Dividing the profits and shares can sometimes be quite cumbersome and may affect the working of the team as a whole.

  4. Tackle the nitty-gritty of your partnership ASAP. While quite unpleasant, there should be a proper discussion on what will happen if one of the founders decide to leave the company. While the idea may seem quite impossible when the idea of your startup is just evolving, but it is a fact that there will be good times and bad times and sometimes, one of the founders is not happy and wholly committed. The last thing a company needs is a leader who’s there just out of guilt. Also, there should be proper discussions on the termination of service of the co-founders. There should be terms of gracefully firing a founder if that’s the right thing to do. Get all contracts and agreements made and signed as early on as possible. Later on, emotional outbursts or selfish motives will lead to irrational decisions. Thus, it is best to get all such important matters discussed and properly concluded at the onset of the venture.

  5. There are times when personal connections just don’t click when one is looking for potential co-founders. Teaming up with strangers then becomes inevitable. Make sure to run thorough background checks on potential candidates. Ensure that both of you have similar ideas in mind and are willing to put in the required amount of work. Also, look at the connections and skill sets he/she/they possess. You don’t want to be conned in the end. So, go through such intricacies rigorously before formally agreeing to work together. Go out together a few times to assess each other and figure out whether you can work together or not.

  6. Apart from coordination amongst the team members, it is also important that the co-founders present a united leadership front. Lay out how the company will be built, the number of employees to be hired, the pay scale and the formal roles all of you will assume in the coming days.

If you’re actively searching for a co-founder, do check out sites like Entrepreneur Network, Co-founder Network, CoFounders Lab etc. Attend events like the Startup weekends. Put the word out. All the best in your search for the perfect partner(s)!

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Parul Verma

Student, BITS Pilani KK Birla Goa Campus

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