Two friends who meet for coffee, might move from a discussion about their lives to new ideas and there sprouts a business opportunity. A business is born right there, but do they take the idea and launch the business on their own and bring in the other person as a co-founder? Sometimes it can get overwhelming, leaving the person lost.
But how do you understand that you need a co-founder? Or when it is an idea and a single person, where do they go to find a co-founder? Someone who shares their vision and dreams? The co-founder needs to be one that adds value, encourages, provides new thoughts and helps take the business ahead.
Belief in the idea
Most entrepreneurs look for people who share their line of thinking. It is also about how much the other person believes in their idea and thought. Vinod Harith, co founder of CMO Axis talks about how the need for a cofounder sets in as the company begins to grow, crossing the 1 year mark. His brother is the partner in business and Vinod says it is good to have a person on the board. The ability to accept that you don't have all the expertise and you need someone is when the need to have a cofounder stems from. It was incidental that both of them came from a marketing background, but they are very different personalities. "Disagreements do happen, but it is all about the maturity and ability to detach oneself from the problem and focus on the business that matters. We believed in the idea, and we are our worst critics, so feedback, new ideas are always in the air."
Even if you have experience in the industry you are looking at exploring, it might always be good to bring in someone who has a different background. When one person in the team is from a certain domain, it is good to have another expert in the arena. This will help even the playground and go out looking for bigger greener pastures. As a founder, you will be focused on the idea on hand and how you wish to approach the market. But with a co-founder, you will be able to look at industries other than what you are familiar with and reach out to wider market. You should look for people within your network, and circle to see if you spot one worthy of being co-founder.
Nandini Vaidyanathan of Carma Connect and author of Entrepedia says "I have mentored over n 600 entrepreneurs in the past 5- 6 years. Over the years, i have learnt that mentoring like running a business is a two way street. And for a business to run smooth, it is always good to have a co-founder. A person who matches you in strength; brings in diverse experience, connections, and has the ability to push the envelope is a co-founder. My book is a step by step guide to become an entrepreneur in India. In it, i speak in detail the arduous yet necessary process in choosing a co-founder [which is the 4th step in a total of 20]. Just like a boat will ride the river smooth with both oars are working in rhythm, the same applies to business as well.
Every business comes with its set of challenges; sometimes it is tangible, while others are far more difficult. When a new product is being created, it requires an infrastructure and resources to suit the demands. This can prove expensive if the business is flagged by one person. However, if another person is interested in investing in this idea, convinced of its future, then they become a co-founder, a partner. At times, the one with the idea might have the money, but not the time. Devoting time to meetings vendors and clients, time for administration activities, and time for research is what will help a business sustain. Aparna Singh of Womens' web says "I was very keen on having a co-founder. The amount of valuable complimentary skills, the ideas they would bring in was what i was looking forward to. I did speak to many in my circle, both friends and others i had connected with. Many were interested, but none had the business background or were keen on coming on board. It was time to take a decision, and i did just that. It is important to rope in a person who is ready to invest time and work with you in realizing the idea. Without waiting for a co-founder, i went ahead and launched Womens' web, and even today i seek to find that elusive person who will come join hands with me at the business".
Review and re-energize
The flow of business might not always be smooth. For this purpose, having a friend or a trusted person as a co-founder will help keep the energy levels high and ideas flowing. It also provides an opportunity to review ones' abilities, performance and approach, allowing leeway for changes and improvisations. A partner or co-founder will help in discussing different approaches, giving a different perspective to an existing thought and the ability to think aloud.
Next time you attend a conference or meeting, take the time to interact with others, scope out their abilities and pick out the Top 3 who could become your Co-founder.