The process of finding a co-founder, or co-founders, can be lengthy and painful. But it is important not to rush the process and end up with a bad match that could ultimately be the death of the business. That being said, you should consider how long you can afford to postpone the launch. If you have found a gap in the market and you’re concerned about it closing, you may have to speed up the process.
Keep reading to learn about four approaches that should be at the centre of your search.
If you’re looking for a co-founder, you’re going to have to do some networking and the best way to do this is face-to-face. You need to get out there and get involved in the scene to make as many connections as possible. Because if you’re looking to co-found your business with someone, you need to know they are the perfect person to go on this journey with, and the perfect person doesn’t come along very often.
Start by browsing websites like Meetup, Facebook, Eventbrite, and LinkedIn for any relevant events you can find. These can be networking events, conferences, seminars, or anything else. They can be industry-specific. For instance, if you’re thinking about launching an engineering start-up, attend developer meet-ups or an engineering conference. Or they can be specific to no sector at all. After all, so many entrepreneurs explore business in a range of fields, and it is the quality of your business idea that will excite them above anything else.
There is a wealth of online resources available to those searching for a co-founder. Consider exploring specific platforms such as Founders Nation, Startbee, CoFoundersLab, and F6S. These kinds of websites give you access to large communities of entrepreneurs with impressive credentials and ambitions. They also allow you to search for potential business partners with a wide range of filtering tools that allow you to find exactly the sort of co-founder you’re looking for. Consider also joining Facebook and LinkedIn groups for entrepreneurs.
Searching online gives you the added benefit of flexibility. You can search anywhere in the country, or across borders, which is particularly useful if you are planning to start your next business abroad. If you find someone who you think would add value to the business, get them on the phone straight away, or even better, arrange to go for a coffee.
Use your network
Entrepreneurs from all sectors and regions benefit from the importance of a strong and utilisable network. For example, Channel IT founder Bassim Haidar has developed a wide network of business contacts globally and this ultimately led to him being invited to the World Economic Forum at Davos. Intel’s Gordon Moore often advises young people to build business connections and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff has spoken publicly about finding his co-founder through the network he had already developed.
Whether you’re already established in the business world or you’re planning to launch your first business, you will likely already have a number of valuable contacts and connections. If you have founded at least one business in the past, you will have plenty of contacts, from investors to business partners. And if you are new to this, you will still have contacts that will be useful to you in your search. Consider contacts you have from previous workplaces, for example.
These contacts don’t have to be people you know well or even on a personal level. They could be connections you have made on LinkedIn with like-minded individuals or even someone who follows you on a social media platform that you aren’t even aware of.
Utilise your network and reach out to anyone and everyone. Even if you don’t consider someone a potential co-founder, give them a call, or drop them a message as they might know of someone who might be more appropriate. Reach out through your social media platforms – LinkedIn is especially useful here, but platforms like Facebook can be fruitful too. Put out posts to let people know you’re looking for a co-founder and provide some information to capture people’s interest.
Friends and family
One of the best and simplest options for finding a co-founder that people often overlook is looking to your friends and family. This is often overlooked by entrepreneurs as they view it as an amateur move, but this is a mistake. Founding a business with a friend or a family member has many benefits. For starters, you will already know them very well, and you will likely have a good grasp of their attributes as well as their strengths and weaknesses. There will also be a strong element of trust already in place.
Some highly successful companies were in fact founded by friends or family members, and more importantly, these include several of the highest valued companies on the planet. Examples include Google, Apple, Microsoft, Airbnb, P&G, and Ben & Jerry’s.
However, you should be cautious not to let your loyalties or fondness towards the friend or relative obscure your perception of their qualities and abilities. You must assess their appropriateness as business partners without bias, as you would with anyone else.