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June 30, 2022

Importance of working with the right co-founder

Starting a business is not easy. It takes long hours, sleepless nights and a lot of stress. So working with the right co-founder can be an important part of starting a business. It can make sense to share the journey with someone who shares your vision.

A co-founder is also a good idea, if you have some but not all skillsets you need. But it is crucial to choose someone who complements your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you both succeed in your venture. It also ensures future proofing healthy founders.

What makes you a good Co-Founder?

There are several qualities that make a good co-founder. Here are the top five qualities to consider when choosing someone to work with:

  • Passion. When things get tough, passion will keep you both going. If you are only stating a company because of the money you will make, this is a guaranteed fast track to failure. Passion can help you both overcome any obstacles together and work towards success.
  • Thinks independently. There are times where you will make decisions that are not right for the business. So you need a co-founder who thinks independently, and questions decisions and offers new ways of approaching challenges. Also your co-founder must be capable of making the best decisions for the company when you are not available.
  • Share core values. It is crucial to choose someone who has the same core values. These are the values instilled into you as you grow up and through life’s experiences. If you do not share the same values, it will make it difficult to align your goals and working culture.
  • Complementary skills. The importance of working with a co-founder with complementary skills cannot be stated enough. This means you do not have to hire people for so many tasks. So consider the skills you struggle with and choose someone who compensates for those skills.
  • Trustworthiness. Your co-founder must be trustworthy. It takes a huge investment of time and money to start a company so you do not want to be working with someone you cannot trust. A co-founder who has integrity in all that they do is crucial to a start-up’s success.


Finding the Right Person for You

The first thing you need to do to find the right person is to write out a checklist of requirements. It should include area such as professional qualifications, personal traits, working style, skills and other relevant priorities. This will help you identify any red flags early on so you can find a co-founder that is a good match for your start up. Questions to consider during the process include:

  • Do you mutually respect each other when you do not agree?
  • What is their working style and how do they deal with stress?
  • Is there mutual trust?
  • Do you both have the same vision?
  • Are you both passionate about the business?
  • Do they have the expertise you need in the business?


You Need Someone Who Shares Your Vision

It is important to choose someone who shares your vision. A co-founder also needs to share you goals and core values to help build resilience in your start up. When you share a vision, it helps you meet any challenges and boosts your recovery if things go off track. A co-founder should share your goals and objectives which will help your success in the market.


They Should Be Able To Work Well Under Pressure

Make sure you consider whether you would enjoy working together. When starting a business it can be a wild ride with highs and lows. So you want a co-founder who stays calm and thinks clearly no matter whether you are going through times of extreme highs or if things get tough.

It may be easy during the good times. But how do they work under pressure, especially when there are challenges? It is important to consider how your co-founder copes when under pressure.

Once you have found a co-founder you want to work with, do not forget to put in place a founders agreement. And make sure it includes an exit strategy to protect you both in the future.

As always, I wish you well on your journey. Contact me if you need legal advice.

About the author 

Vivian Michael

As founder and lawyer at Michael Law Group, Vivian advises Australia's top entrepreneurs on business and employment matters. Clients benefit from Vivian's commercially focussed and pragmatic legal advice, business experience, and commitment to deliver the best quality business legal services to her clients.

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