We’ve all heard what people say about entrepreneurs, that they have to wear “different hats” in order to succeed. This means that an entrepreneur who has just begun to build their startup will need to handle lots of different tasks of varying difficulty. An entrepreneur will need to fill the role of the accountant, the creator, the salesman, the designer, the techie, the marketer and many others. While this is 100% true, we all have our limitations. These limitations can come in the form of a lack of certain skills, money and time. One way of overcoming these limitations is to share the responsibility of your startup with a co-founder.
Building a startup is a mental battle. It is extremely taxing on the brain and on your motivational levels. Getting a co-founder on board is a great way to ensure you don’t want to give up, because believe me, when the reality of entrepreneurship bites you will have moments when you think it is just too much! Your co-founder is the perfect person to remind you of what you have achieved, what you want to achieve and why you started up in the first place.
Your co-founder is also a different person to you and will have different thought processes at different times. That coupled with their interest in the startup makes them the perfect candidate with which to discuss and come up with ideas. There is no one better with whom to talk through problems and think creatively than your co-founder who knows what is going on during the day to day.
You just need to ensure that your co-founder believes in the project as much as you do and is invested in you and your startup’s success. One of the startups I am currently working on has two co-founders. Myself and a friend of 23 years at the time of writing. We know each other very well, can spend copious amounts of time together or on the phone and trust each other to complete each other’s respective tasks. If you can find someone like this for your startup, you are well on the way to building a winning team that can overcome hurdles.
No-one can know everything and you can’t do every little thing. Yes, you will need to wear different hats in a startup. There is only so much equity and money available. You can’t get someone in to cover every different task. But there are certain things that from my experience would just take too long to learn – the technical parts of a startup are a prime example. And anyway, at some point it gets tiring having to learn new things all the time! If you have a co-founder on board that has skills and knowledge that you don’t have or that would take you a good while to acquire, it can take a lot of the burden off your shoulders. It is always better to have people doing the things that they are good at as opposed to things they may be unsure about.
Take one of our startups – MyClubConnect. We are a two man team that covers a wide variety of skills. I’m a marketer, a writer, a grunt for admin tasks and more. My co-founder is a techie, covering coding, building the app, sorting out the website. We would each be very hard-pressed to do all of the above completely on our own!
As an entrepreneur, there is so much to get done. So many onerous tasks to complete in so little time. Yes, one may say it is all about time management to ensure you get everything done. But even then, it is a daunting prospect to be responsible for every single task. Getting a co-founder will enable you to share the responsibility for getting things done. ‘Divide and conquer’ is the most apt cliche here. You can get stuff done quicker without the stress of your startup’s success being completely on you and your own frame of mind at any given time.
Imagine you get ill for a week. If you are the only founder, this means no work gets done for that whole week depending on the severity of your illness. Your startup comes to a grinding halt and is at a standstill until you get better. With a co-founder on board, your startup can continue to move forward giving you the peace of mind to rest and get well. The simple knowledge that work will continue without you will probably even help you recover quicker than you anticipated!
There are more benefits to having a co-founder than just getting tasks done, different skill sets and mental support too. Let’s consider what else is at a premium when building a startup. Money. Space to work. Your co-founder could be your startup’s saving grace! Finding a co-founder could mean a nice cash injection in return for equity to keep your startup running. Your co-founder may be able to provide space to work, even if it is their kitchen! Even if you wanted to get funding for your startup, having a co-founder is a massive string in your bow as investors like when there is more than one person on a project so they are not betting on only one person.
The lesson is, having a co-founder on board will enable you to pool your money and resources for the benefit of the business. We have done exactly that recently on our startup, both saving up while working part-time in order to get developers on board to help my co-founder build our app and web systems.
Conclusion: Find yourself a co-founder! Share the responsibility and get your startup to where it needs to be quicker.
Remember: You Have To Try!