I’m part of a team made of four second-time co-founders.
One of them is a serial entrepreneur. He started 7 businesses over the last 15 years.
I’ll share what I learned from them on the best way to find the right co-founder.
Hopefully, it will save you some time, money and a massive amount of headaches.
Let’s start with some ground rules.
Look for Intellectually and humility
I’ve heard this more times than I can count. It’s a crucial trait not only when looking for a co-founder but also when you’re looking to fill any position in your project. It doesn’t matter how skilled your potential co-founder is; if this key trait is absent you’ll be in trouble sooner or later.
Don’t rush it, you’ll regret it later
If you’re looking to find a co-founder, odds are you’re very excited about building something. You want it to happen fast. Now!
Don’t let yourself get carried away. Just because someone shows enthusiasm about your idea doesn’t mean they are the right partner for you. Take the time you need to make sure you have the right fit.
Your best friend is not automatically the best co-founder
This is the one mistake that brings more bitterness to the table when discussed. Many friendships ended because of a bad decision.
If you’re set on building a business with a friend, please make sure he has the right set of skills. Otherwise, let him continue to be your best friend. Fail to follow this simple rule and I can almost guarantee the beers over the weekend will stop.
On to the traits. Here’s what you should be looking for on your co-founder if you want to set up a great team and make your startup successful:
1. Skilled hard worker
Any successful startup has skilled, hard-working people.
I’ll quote Mark Suster on this one: “…everything goes wrong (when building a startup) and only great teams can respond to competitors, markets, funding environments, staff departures, PR disasters and the like”.
The right people on your side is often the difference between failure and success.
2. Not scared of failure
There are tons of great professionals out there who are scared of failure. Mostly because they don’t understand what it really means.
Spending hours, days, weeks building something that doesn’t work isn’t something you should be embarrassed about. That’s learning, not failing.
Successful founders research, plan, execute, test. If it doesn’t work, they iterate until they find the right solution. Look for that mindset.
3. Fast Learner
You fail, you learn. If you often fail in small tests, you learn fast. Hence to be a fast learner you need to try very often, fail very often too.
When executing, you will be alone with your co-founder/co-founders making some hard decisions. You will embrace different situations where it seems you don’t have a clue about what you’re doing. A fast learner focuses on researching and analyzing the environment in order to get the most accurate reasoning to tackle the issue.
Be that guy. Then look for someone like you.
4. Lateral thinker
Remember Henry? The guy that came up with a car when all people wanted was faster horses? Look for someone that’s not afraid to think. And think often as a customer. It will do wonders for you.
5. Aligned on the vision
Vision is key: if you truly believe in something, all of your actions naturally aim at that.
6. Obsessed with perfection
Find someone who agrees that you need to build something 10x better than everything anyone else has ever built to solve the problem you’re solving.
Good communication among co-founders is one of the main conditions for startups to live long enough to succeed.
I hope the helps you find the perfect partner.
Written by Rui Lourenço