One of the biggest problems one faces as an upcoming entrepreneur is to find a cofounder.
We look for everything that we don’t have in them and from the start set a very high benchmark for them. As a co-founder we want them to be good at everything and they need to be everything that you are not.
While we dwell on how to find a cofounder, here are 9 ways which can make the process much easier and take us a step closer to finding the perfect match:
1. Analyze Yourself & Craft A Precise Job Description
Before you step out to find your “perfect match’, there are a few things that you need to make sure that is not only clear to you but clear for your future co-founder as well.
You need to thoroughly analyze yourself and know your Strength and Weaknesses.
You need to know exactly where you lack and want the person to step in and where exactly you are at your best and want him/ her to step away.
This will also help you analyze yourself and your company and help you figure out what is exactly missing in your skillset.
For example, if you are not good at programming and technical aspect of business, you can always learn those in a few months and make that your strength, but if your inherent personality is shy and you cannot negotiate for your company then you need to find a cofounder who is not only is excellent in negotiating but also someone who can negotiate deals for both of you.
A startup founding team needs every skill and trait to be successful and to see the big picture, planning, analyzing and stargazing will help you go a long way in taking your plan to the next stage.
2. Network, Network, and Network
Once you have your strategy in place, the next step is to network, and then network some more.
As a startup, you will need to network a lot and network for almost everything.
Finding a co-founder is no different and you thus need to attend everything from industry conferences and entrepreneur forums, alumni meetups and even join few online entrepreneur groups on Linkedin and other business partner matching sites like CoFoundersLab, TechCoFounder, Startup Weekend etcetera.
You also need to visit local university entrepreneur fairs and actually talk to different people who have similar interests so as to find your perfect match. There are tons of places to find a cofounder who is just like you.
3. Look for Different Backgrounds and Skills
One of the key points that you need to look for is your future co-founders’ background and skills. While the vision for the company should be shared by all the co-founders, it is always wise to find a cofounder who is from a different background or culture and has skills other than your own.
This would widen the company’s perspective and brings in fresh ideas to the company that you might otherwise have missed or not dared to explore.
4. Talk to Mentors and Advisors
It is also advisable to talk to your mentors and seek their advice as this will lead you to expand your professional coverage and might also help you get in touch with other professionals who they are in contact with.
Their advice can also guide you in finding the right co-founder as they might already exist in your circle and not have been considered by you just yet.
Don’t get weirded out at the prospect of approaching your mentors as they would always be glad to be a helping hand and be a guide to you.
Don’t forget that finding the right partner is an important task and trust is one of the most important factors that is needed in this relationship.
So always approach those people who you trust (or can trust) and be wary of those who might try to misguide you or take advantage of you.
Your mentors have been in the startup scene far longer than you have and hence would know far more people who could be the right fit for the role.
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5. Focus Less on Data and More on Chemistry
It is also important to remember that you need more than good data to be compatible with another person so remember to focus more on chemistry and less on data.
While you both might be the perfect match on paper, in reality, you might be completely opposite and have nothing in common.
While you need a person with a different skill set, having nothing in common is never beneficial for the company as you will never be able to see eye to eye and always would be in conflict mode.
Thus, dictate your choice based on more than just data and treat it more like a relationship which needs to be strong.
Find that common factor, build that trust and look for that common topic of passion in the company that you all seek.
It is a must, that you both enjoy each other’s company and are just not tolerating each other.
So, work together for some time and if you think you have found a good candidate only then take it to the next step of making him/her a co-founder.
6. Negotiate Terms and Equity Early
While the above points would help you find a cofounder, it is always advisable to negotiate the terms of partnership and equity early.
This would help you commit to each other early, sort out your individual roles and most important of all, know the equity distribution of each partner.
Remember that there is no formula for how much equity you should own and how much you should give away.
But it’s always advisable to have an honest chat with your co-founder and discuss equity early.
You should be upfront about this from the start if you want to avoid any clashes or problems in the future.
This will make your expectations clear to them and their expectations and notions clear to you.
They would thus give your proposal a good long hard thought before committing and fully commit to it as if the project is their own.
This would also clear of all the power dynamics that might happen in the future.
7. Have reasonable expectations
While you need to be wary of what all you commit and get equity sorted before committing to a co-founder, it also works for the best that your demands are not illogical or unreasonable.
No one likes to be forced into a job and as a co-founder, no one likes to be given the short end of the stick.
So be practical and logical in your demands with regards to a co-founder and not force them into unreasonable and forced jobs as a co-founder.
Give them time to understand, commit and work things around and only then say no if you think they are still not worthy of the partnership.
8. Think of it as a relationship than a business partnership
Yes, they always say to keep your business and relationship apart, but when looking for a co-founder, it is important to look at it as a long-term relationship than a business transaction.
This will help you both emotionally bond over the job and make it equally important for each member of the partnership.
This way you both will give it your all and even more, so as to make the partnership work and not quit it mid-way just because the going got tough,
9. Approach close family and friends first
While I am stating this as the last point, you should consider this as your first point. Look at family and friends first when you are on your journey to find a cofounder as half the above point is already covered when it comes to close aid.
You know them personally and thus know their traits and their skills, you also don’t need to build a relationship with them as its already there and if the equity is sorted, the business and commitment stays within the family/ friends and not open it to external people who might not look at it the same way.
Thus, always treat your hunt to find a cofounder as a long-term relationship building exercise so that you both are thinking long-term, are committed for same and valid reasons and are not going to quit the partnership midway just because the things got tough.
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