A common challenge faced by every entrepreneur is that they don’t have the bandwidth, interest or skills to do everything that is required to build their startup. Of course, they can outsource part of the work or hire employees, but that approach means more time and money to manage the work, which they don’t have. The right answer is to find a co-founder with complementary skills.
Two heads are always better than one in a startup. Both need to share the passion, long-term opportunity and risk, rather than just getting paid to do a job, win or lose. Investors worry about a single entrepreneur getting overloaded, disabled or led astray, with no balancing and supporting partner. The challenge is how to find that elusive perfect-fit partner.
Don’t expect someone else to find the partner for you, since it’s really very much like finding a life partner. Your version of the right chemistry, similar values and passion for your solution probably won’t match mine. Yet from my own years of experience in the startup community, here are 10 common steps that have worked for other entrepreneurs:
1. Write a “job description” for that ideal partner.
Your best friend, spouse or a family member is the least likely candidate, so don’t start there. Take a hard look at your own business strengths and weaknesses, and write down what partner skills and experiences would best complement yours. Seek input from seasoned investors and peers.
2. Network to find co-founders just as you network to find investors.
In fact, many of the same venues, such as industry conferences, entrepreneur forums and local business organizations are useful for both. Online, it pays to join entrepreneur groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, and interact with people who meet your criteria on Twitter.
3. Join online “matchmaking” sites for business partners.
Co-founders are business partners for startups, so don’t be afraid to join and explore sites such as StartupWeekend, StartupAgents andCoFoundersLab. Also start a discussion on the wealth of business blogs frequented by entrepreneurs, where you can make your interests known.
4. Attend local university entrepreneur activities.
University professors and student leaders always know a host of top entrepreneurs, alums or staff members who are just waiting to find the perfect match for their own interests, skills and entrepreneurial ideas to change the world. Support local activities and you support yourself.
5. Look for a partner from a different background.
In today’s global economy, your ideal partner may be half way around the world, from a different geography and business culture. Every startup infrastructure is flush with smart people from all cultures, many of whom may be ready and able to bring new energy and creativity to your startup.
Join our Tech Startups & Co Founders @ G Bar at the Grosvenor Piccadilly, 3-4 Coventry Street , W1D 6BL London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, 19 May 2015 from 18:00 to 21:00 (BST)