Co-Founders: A cool word by today’s standard but a dark web from inside. The two Steve’s, the first a lonely young man with philosophical queries, the other one through a computer programming genius. We won’t say anything more because by now we are sure you must have guessed who we are talking about. The two Steve’s were poles apart (One Steve had even duped the other of a substantial amount of money for the work done on making a pong game), but what made them create the world’s biggest company in terms of market valuation?. Well, this is a question which is hard to answer. And in this blog, we delve into the 5 key points that turn co-founders into superstars. It takes a lot of the business partnership to flourish and blossom amidst the grueling demand of a start-up. There are uncountable stories of start-up partnerships ending in lawsuits and at times of violence.
So here’s a list of few important points that you must check out before making that one handshake that may open the doors to greatness or the freefall to an obscure isolation for you.
The Big Picture
As partners in a budding start-up, the co-founders must always aware of the big picture at the back of their mind. They must be at all cost be bound by the Vision and Mission of their Venture. Co-founders work best when they bring expertise from different domains to the table. But these contrasting expertise unless channeled towards a common goal can lead to ego clashes. A difference of opinion is a must for creative solutions to problems. But co-partners must refrain from being rigid and vehemently be sticking with only their point of view. Success depends on teamwork. Business partners must remember that their partnership must be synonymous with the engine and wheel of a vehicle. While the engine churns out the power that is necessary to drive the vehicle, the steering wheel is the guide towards the destination. A successful business partnership has similarities like a successful marriage that survives long if one partner acknowledges the contribution of the other to the startup equivalent to his.
Hire Expertise: Never Settles for The Ordinary
While working on their flagship offering of the day, Apple co-founders were stuck on the power supply. In came Rod Holt, apple employee no #5, who charged 200$ a day for working on the power supply. Years later, Rod Holt while remembering the good old days recounted that when asked for his fees, Rod Holt had replied that he was not sure that the co-founders could afford him. Mush to his dismay the co-founders replied they could. And this is Rod Holt came onboard Apple 2 and became part of history. This is just one of the single instances where co-founders hire expertise to find solutions to a nagging problem that threatens the very values and integrity that the start-up stands for. Hence, as co-founders, the most important quality is to be flexible when the situation demands you to be and play down your egos. Always refrain from supporting limitations that affect the core values of your business or product. Founders should be bold and never settle for the ordinary.
Flexibility: Should Be Quick to Embrace Change
Today’s hot is Tomorrow’s cold. This is apt for the ever-changing landscape of technology. Remember Yahoo!!… There greatest mistake was turning down Google in 1998 for $1 million and the rest, as they say, is HISTORY. Co-Founders must be aware of the scalability of their idea and back it up with complete faith. One or both of the co-founders must remember that an idea is just the beginning of the journey. In the larger scale of things, both must agree on important changes that can not only redefine the scale of the business venture but open doors of opportunity that they never realized existed in the first place.
Be very careful and avoid someone who is all talks and no work. Drumbeaters are the worst you would want to associate with. Remember, the biological clock works differently for individuals. While some may be up and ready to go with the dawn, others may take a little longer and hit the road running at 9 AM. While some can get a lot done in 5-6 hours others might take 9-10 hrs. As long as your potential co-founders skill suits the partnerships requirement and he is a workaholic, these nits and bits can be overlooked. Each co-founder’s role and responsibility must be clearly defined from the outset to check friction and ensure individual accountability. As long as co-founders appreciate the skill set they bring to the table and respect each other work ethic, accountability will never be an issue.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four-star daydream,
Think I’ll buy me a football team
These starting lines from the famous song ‘Money’ from the legendary band Pink Floyd perfectly echoes the common human sentiment when it comes to Money. Remember, Money changes people. There have been co-founders who have sold all their shares and taken the first flight back home at the first glimpse of a million dollar buyout. Good for them, but it leaves the other partner stranded and with a lot of work on his table. On the other hand, sometimes a co-partner, who may have mouths to feed and loans to be paid, may be in dire need of money. As a co-partner decide beforehand if you can handle such a partnership rather than finding yourself entangled in a whirlpool of someone else’s greed or need. It is imperative to set crystal clear financial goals from the very outset.
Attend hackathons or events like ‘founder dating’ to meet potential creative and skillful co-founders. Events are great opportunity to exchange ideas and meet equally enthusiastic people.
50-50 partnership is never a good idea.
Refrain from being a Dictator. Never act like a boss and feel you are only accountable to yourself. A great product does not always mean a great company. So work on management skills and be a true leader.
A good idea attracts investors easily is a myth. It took centuries to prove that the earth was round. A good idea will not necessarily attract immediate investors.
The above were five important points which we think co-founders must consider at the very beginning before embarking on the roller coaster ride of the start-up universe. In addition to these, the co-founders must agree to a mutual agreement that clearly defines the objectives and goal of the business and put it into writing. The legal agreement must also cover the exit strategy if things don’t work out in the first place. However, these lines should not deter budding entrepreneurs from taking the leap of faith. Remember one thing, a big failure is a doorway to great success. During one of those days that bring disappointment and anguish, co-founders must remember that knowledge can bestow fast legs to your startup but it is imagination that will give it wings. So imagine, plan, implement and chose a great co-founder that suits you the best and fills in the gaps that you can’t. In the words of one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our times “Its all about connecting the dots”.