Starting a company with a friend or colleague can oftentimes be more intimate than marriage. You both will surely eat, sleep and breath your work -- especially while your company is in its infancy -- and you and your co-founder will be together almost 24/7.
Since you'll be constant companions, it's good to know whether you're fit from the outset. For this reason, we made the following co-founder checklist of all the things you should consider before selecting a business partner:
1. Know your partner. As much fun as it may sound, starting a business with your best friend probably isn’t the best idea. But that doesn’t mean you should be working with a total stranger.
Trust is necessary to build a healthy partnership. You and your business partner should already have a standing relationship before jumping into business together. The two of you will have to work together through stressful situations. So it’s also important to know you can support your business partner even in the most difficult times.
If you’re unsure of your compatibility, we suggest taking your relationship for a test run. Train for a marathon or triathlon together to gauge your ability to motivate each other.
2. Communication is key. Your business won’t get anywhere if you and your partner don’t communicate. To be successful, you each have to know what’s on the other’s mind. Before diving in head first, take some time to sort out your priorities and share them with one another.
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you want to work from home? Bring your pet to work? Do you value fitness? Travel? What do you want out of the next five years, professionally and personally? Sharing this information with your business partner will help you carve out a schedule that supports your mutual values and keeps you motivated to push forward.
Also keep in mind each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Identifying the skills you need to develop will give your business partner an opportunity to help you grow and improve. It will also help you determine who is better suited to tackle different obstacles.
3. Collaborate on your shared vision. They say it’s all about the execution, so you and your business partner must align on your vision from day one. If you’re going to build a successful company, it’s essential for both of you to be working towards the same goals.
Ask yourself the tough questions: What problem are you solving? Who is the customer? How will you make money? What will your company culture look like? To create something great, you must be goal oriented and share similar views on how to achieve success. When you have a clear vision of your goal, it will be so much easier to reach it.
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