It’s a great time for startups. There were more than 30 million small businesses registered in 2018, 69% of which began life as a home venture. Unfortunately, only half of all startups make it past the first five years, but with the right business partners and a strong business plan, your chances of success are vastly improved.
The people you work with can have a huge effect on the profitability of your venture. Read on for some useful advice all would-be entrepreneurs should read before they choose a co-founder for their business.
What Values Are You Looking For?
Think about the type of person you can work with. What values do they need? Draw up a wish-list and keep it with you when assessing any potential business partners.
Honesty and integrity should be a given, but it very much depends on what type of venture you have in mind. After all, if you plan on opening up a boiler room sales operation to sell dodgy insurance, honesty and integrity won’t be desirable traits in a business partner!
Think about how competitive you are. How hard you typically work. Ideally, look for someone with similar traits, so there isn’t a mismatch of worth ethic or desire to succeed at any cost.
Think about Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Be honest with yourself. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. If you are hard-working but an introvert, it is beneficial to have a business partner who is supremely comfortable working with clients and setting up meetings.
Choose a partner who compliments you, someone who has the skills you lack. For example, if you are a great salesperson but you don’t have a head for figures, look for a co-founder with a finance qualification. After all, every successful business needs a strong finance director behind the scenes.
Look for a Co-Founder Who’s Willing to Make Compromises
Compromises must be made in any business. Think carefully about what type of business you want to run and find someone who is willing to make compromises to ensure things run smoothly. For example, if your family is very important to you, look for a partner who is willing to work unsociable hours when you are unavailable.
Discuss How You’ll Handle Tricky Situations
Brainstorm all the possible things that could go wrong and make sure you are both on the same page. You’ll need solid strategies for dealing with difficult problems. It’s important that your co-founder is able to work alongside you when the bad stuff hits the fan. After all, nobody wants their cofounder to jump overboard at the first sign of an iceberg!
Vet Co-founders Before You Take Negotiations to the Next Level
Founding a business with someone you barely know is foolhardy, to say the least. Always verify a person’s background and personal information before you decide to work with them. Use Nuwber to cross-check names, addresses, email addresses, etc. Nuwber.com looks at the information held on a number of public databases. It’s better to know now if your new business partner is a convicted felon.
Don’t make any rash decisions when taking someone on board to help build a business. If the worst happens and you end up working with a sociopath or incompetent idiot, it could destroy your dreams. Check them out before you do anything concrete like draw up an agreement or put their name on the Articles of Association. It’s the sensible thing to do!