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Building a Successful Co-Founder Relationship

Building a Successful Co-Founder Relationship

Starting a business is hard, very hard. So, you want someone to balance your skillset and cover your blind spots, share the pain and victory along the way. We found this great article on 7 reasons why you need a Co-Founder

Where do I find a potential Co-Founder? 

Personal Network is often the first point of call; however, if you cannot find any ideal candidates through your potential networks, then you can explore these other options:

  • Tertiary Institutions (University, Polytechnic etc.)

  • Start-up weekend

  • Events (e.g. Meetup) 

  • NZ Tech Startups Eco-System Facebook Group

Just go out there, keep networking and meet new people. Share what you want to do with like-minded people and keep asking.

What am I looking for in a Co-Founder? 

These are the key attributes that you should look for:
(a) Shared vision and passion
(b) Complementary strengths – both skills and personality
(c) Integrity
(d) Strong work ethics

I found a potential candidate and convinced him/her to join, then what?

There isn’t a set process to follow. However, keep in mind that you want to make sure the person is the right fit for you and the business, and you want to know about the other person as much as you can before you take the plunge. The principles are the same whether you are a tech start-ups, social enterprises or service companies. So we thought it maybe useful for us to share the process that we went through before Fatima joined us as Co-Founder. 

  • We both took the Clifton Strengths test and Personality Test, and shared the results with each other. We also completed 2-way reference check on each other. Both steps allowed us to know each other better, preamp any issues sooner and decided whether we would establish a working relationship first.

  • We worked together for a period before formalising the Co-Founder relationship. This gives both time to learn more about how each other working style, how we deal with conflicts and disagreements and see whether there is a good fit.

  • Include our partners (Husband / Wife) early in the working relationship as they play a pivotal role in the Co-Founder relationship. We often spend more time talking to each other than our spouses. So, it is crucial to have the support of our spouses for the Co-Founder relationship to work out long term.

  • Having a shareholder’s agreement to cover the worst-case scenario (which we sincerely hope we will never need to use). The shareholders’ agreement clearly details how the buy-out price will be calculated.