You’ve approached mentors, watched videos, read books and you think you are now ready to assemble your team. One of the most interesting questions I’ve been asked recently is “Do I need a startup co-founder?”. This is a very challenging question for me personally because as of the moment I’m writing, these two (2) things come to mind.
- I know I wouldn’t have come this far with Potatocodes without my co-founders.
- I’m planning another startup soon and I’d like to go at it alone.
So how come It’s not a solid “Yes!” for me? One thing is that Potatocodes started of as a website development business and is now a tech and digital consultancy agency. We’ve been evolving all throughout the years and even though I know in my heart that my co-founders have been a huge help with the business, it’s just not always the case.
Do you need someone in the first place?
Why do we need co-founders anyway? Some people may think that it’s a big hassle to find another person with the same vision as you and who won’t stab you in the back later on but it will depend mainly on your business model.
Let’s say you’re the marketing guy, you’re planning to have a tech startup with a mobile app as your flagship product and you don’t have any plans to study code, then you’re definitely someone who could use a co-founder.
How about if you’re the technical guy, let’s say you’re a full-stack engineer who has intermediate knowledge about UI and UX, then you might think you don’t need a co-founder right? Well how about your marketing? Your books? You might want to consider finding the person with the same vision who can help you in the marketing side or who will make sure all your numbers are in order.
There are a lot of factors that will determine the success of your startup, so you might want to consider your strengths and your weaknesses. From here you can work out the areas you need help in. If you’re the marketing guy and doesn’t have any technical background, then find a like-minded person who’s good at coding. If you’re the technical guy who’s not comfortable in presenting and shelling out content, then it’s time to find yourself a marketing guy.
Finding the right people
There are times in the my startup experience that I’ve given a part of the company just because I believe I needed the help of a certain individual. This is not always the case, finding the right co-founders might be a challenge on its own. You have to know where to look for them. A good idea would be to join groups on Facebook like Startup PH. You could start looking for a co-founder by posting about the requirements you’re looking for. Adding a glimpse of your vision could go a long way to finding your startup soulmate.
Is it really worth the risk bringing in more people for the particular area you want to strengthen. I.e. you want to bring in an accountant, is it worth the shares you will be giving them or is it better if you find an accountant and pay a certain fee to organize your books?Sometimes it’s the latter, instead of always going by default to find a co-founder for a specific area of your company, you can opt for getting services instead.
Knowing when the time is right
Another thing you should consider is if it’s really needed at this stage of your company. If you’re still working on your prototype, you don’t need an accountant yet. One important thing I’ve learned in my startup journey is that, it will save you a lot of trouble and headache in managing the logistics if you can create a balance. Can I still bootstrap this part or is it time to find some help?
The scale can go both ways if you fail to create a balance between bootstrapping with what you have and looking for help. If you try to bootstrap too much, you might waste time and energy doing something that can be done by someone else. If you commission someone for help when you can still bootstrap it, you might waste finance or shares and you could be facing a lot of headache in working with someone who doesn’t share the same vision.
Just take your time in deciding, you don’t have to rush off in search of your startup co-founders just yet. Take your time in planning out your startup journey, find milestones where you think you might need help and consider whether it would be better for you to find another person who will be in it for the long haul or someone you can pay for the service instead.
The final verdict
It’s really up to you. You should consider the vision, the business model and the timeline for your startup. Are you enough to pursue this vision alone as a founder? Will your business model hold together without getting someone to hold some areas of your business? Is it the right time to get someone’s help and bring them on-board? Ask these questions and you could be well on your path to startup success. I know not because I’m already there, but because I’m on my way as well 😉