BY CHRISTA WARD
4GenNow SENIOR RESEARCHER
For a solopreneur (solo founder) finding a compatible co-founder(s) is a crucial step. 65% of all startups fail because of co-founder conflict! OK. Let that statistic sink in for a minute but don’t let it scare you. No relationship is ever perfect but if you have an idea of the qualities you want your co-founder(s) to have, your chances of success are greater. Here are just a few qualities to consider.
The key to any successful partnership is commitment but it is especially true for a startup. You will spend countless hours working together. If you don’t have someone who is willing to put her/his skin in the game, your startup doesn’t stand a chance. Start by having a conversation with your potential co-founder(s). During your initial conversation, are they talking about all of the other commitments they have? You want to make sure that everyone is willing to make the same level of commitment to the business or, at the very least, agree to the level of commitment each person involved intends to make.
Vision is another key quality you want your co-founder(s) to have. It is important, at least foundationally, that everyone involved share the same views on how the company should evolve, the target audience and what the company will stand for. Your co-founder(s) should share your vision and they need to be passionate about it. Everyone involved should believe in the product/service’s potential. Keep in mind that although your potential co-founder(s) should share your vision, they should also feel comfortable enough to help broaden or restructure that vision if it is for the betterment of the business. In other words, sharing the same vision does not mean constant agreement.
AWARENESS OF BIASES
This can be a bit of a challenge because it requires letting go of generational stereotypes. Recently, IBM conducted a study in which they debunked many of the myths we hear about each generation. For example, the study found that contrary to many myths, when it comes to the workplace in general, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials have a lot in common. Each generation values a number of key factors that are important when looking for a co-founder(s) such as working with diverse groups of people, collaborating and saving the world. When you are embarking on a new business venture, be sure that everyone involved is willing to check their biases at the door and recognize everyone as individuals and not generational stereotypes.
COMPLEMENTARY SKILLS SET
I am sure you are good at what you do but consider the fact that there are people who can help you be great at what you do as they might provide expertise in a different area. If your skills set is securing capital or understanding the legal issues commonly associated with startups, you don’t necessarily need someone with the exact same skills set. Be specific in defining the skills needed to make your startup successful.
Take a big step to find your intergenerational co-founder(s) at the 2nd Annual 4GenNow Power Partners Summit, Oct 12 at CU South Denver.