Finding Startup Cofounders
Starting a startup is generally a daunting project to take on. Whether you’re a veteran CEO or an aspiring entrepreneur, it’s not easy to come up with a profitable business idea and bring it to life. So, when it comes to building momentum, two hands can set off more force and make things happen faster. Startup cofounders are your best bet in realizing your business dream.
If you’ve been considering the idea of starting a company with a partner, then there are a couple of things to take in mind. For one, you need a concrete answer as to what role your partner would play in the business. Why do you need a partner in the first place? Is a cofounder really necessary? Also, consider the type of partnership arrangement you need based on the nature of your industry.
So, let’s first determine if a business partnership is indeed the right decision. Here are some of the common reasons why founders go into a partnership.
Reasons to Establish a Partnership
Before committing to the idea of a partnership, you must fully understand the purpose of it. Remember, having a cofounder does not guarantee success. Business failure still happens when there’s mismanagement. The level of risk is the same whether you’re a solo founder or a group of business owners.
However, partnerships done right do inspire. There are legendary tales that are rooted in amazing minds working together, such as the Hewlett-Packard (HP) story or Apple’s brilliant duo, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. They successfully interweaved their skills and talents to create a great product. But of course, this required a certain dynamic. And these cofounders knew what they were looking for in a partner.
Let’s discuss the main reasons for having a partner:
Brainstorming is fun at first, but it quickly turns into a headache when the real work begins. More than just coming up with an original, problem-solving idea, you have a lot of things to think about. What will make that idea come to life? How do you make it profitable? And how much will it cost to run and maintain it?
Your startup cofounder will not only help you answer those questions, but they can also help tie up loose ends. For example, if your partner is a technical expert, then they can specify the details of your initial plans. This means brainstorming sessions will be more productive, startup planning will be extensive, and ideas will generally be more creative.
Stress cannot be stressed enough. The entrepreneurial journey is paved with sleepless nights and coffee. Becoming one’s boss is not at all glamorous. And it takes a herculean effort to maintain great performance. A lot of entrepreneurs burn out because they’re taking on too much work at a time. There’s a higher chance you’ll break under pressure if you carry all the burden by yourself. This is why having extra hands is useful.
Your business partner can take some of the work off your plate. Designating work will help you focus better on your current tasks and become more productive in day-to-day operations.
Every entrepreneur goes through the challenge of finding the resources for their business. May it be pitching to investors or acquiring the needed manpower, you’re bound to have difficulties gathering resources to kick off operations. This is where a partner comes in handy. Whether they offer technical expertise, talents, funding, or resource leads, a partner can assist in this area.
A lot of first-time business owners struggle with their limited network in the industry. Hence, having someone with good connections will be extremely helpful.
With great power does come great responsibility. The bigger your business expands, the more things you’ll have to be accountable for. As the assets multiply; so do the liability.
Cofounders can keep you accountable for the things happening in the company. They can point out where you’re lagging. This way, you can prevent small problems from becoming big issues.
These are just some of the benefits of strategic partnerships. If you’re convinced that having a cofounder is good for your business, then it’s time to learn more about the nature of a partnership.
Types of Startup Cofounders
There are numerous partnership arrangements you can explore. Some of the most popular ones are as follow:
- General Partnership – two or more individuals are considered business owners.
- Limited Partnership – one partner is the active owner and the other provides funding.
- Partnership with Limited Liability – both partners are liable for the legal liabilities of the business.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC) Partnership – the owners are only shareholders and do not take on any responsibility.
These are just a few of the common business partnerships, you can look further into the types of partnerships to find which setup suits your business best.
Tips on Finding Startup Cofounders
Now that you understand how a partnership works, the next step is to know where to find startup cofounders. Here are some ideas on how you can start your search.
Browsing through your contacts is a good start. The more background you already have on the person, the better you can gauge if they’re a good fit. It can be a friend from college who shares an interest in the same industry or a colleague at work who wants to become an entrepreneur. The important thing is to narrow down your search to individuals who are willing to do the work.
Here are some communication tips:
1. Give a heads-up!
To ensure that you’re both prepared for the meeting, brief your potential partner about what you want to discuss. Provide the points you want to talk about and make it clear that you’re seriously considering them to be your partner in this endeavor.
2. Prepare your Pitch
Don’t come empty-handed in your meeting. Be intentional with the discussion and prepare a clear proposal. You can’t expect to find a good partner when you can’t articulate your idea well. So, bring in all the material and visuals. Don’t hold back on expressing your thoughts and plans for the business.
3. Make it an open discussion
This is also a good way to assess if you and the candidate have chemistry. Let them chime in their thoughts on the matter. Observe the flow of the conversation and how well you can understand each other’s ideas. This way, you can determine how a brainstorming session would go between you and the candidate.
If you have a limited social circle, you can always tap someone else’s network. Referrals from friends and families are another way to find a business partner. If they happen to know someone who may be interested in building a business or happens to share ideas like you, that’s a good starting point.
You can brief your friends and family about your initial plans for the business. Make your pitch clear and concise so it will be easy to pass on. Once your peers get the gist, they’ll be able to spread the word that you’re looking for a partner.
Startup Events and Conferences
When you’re not having any luck with your existing network, you can tap into the entrepreneur network. Startup events, conventions, and seminars are a great place to meet potential partners. Since you’re already gathered for business reasons, it will save you time in filtering out individual interests.
Finding a cofounder in a startup event takes a bit more effort. For one, startup activities are usually hosted in certain states which means you might need to travel. But it’s worth looking into with all the potential candidates around.
Connect with Full Scale
Finding a startup cofounder is quite challenging, especially if you’re a first-time entrepreneur. One of the wisest things you can do is to connect with experts and mentors in the industry. Hanging out with experienced business owners will give you a better idea of how to properly establish connections.
Full Scale can guide you in finding your startup cofounders. We specialize in helping aspiring entrepreneurs launch their startups successfully. Our founders, Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson are passionate about helping out other business owners. They can connect you to their extensive network of investors, business owners, and fellow entrepreneurs.