How to Find a Co-Founder for Your Startup

February 01, 2019
Charlotte Dougall
Charlotte Dougall

Founder of Blether, helping small businesses do big things online.

Starting a business solo can be an intimidating task, and going it alone isn’t the best route for everyone. If you’re looking for someone to join you on the journey to startup success, here are some of our top tips for finding a co-founder for your startup.

Have clear expectations

The best way to find your ideal business partner is to set out with a crystal clear idea of what you want and who you’re looking for. Take the time to think about your strengths and weaknesses, and consider the sort of person who would complement your skills to create a stronger startup. When searching for a startup co-founder, pay careful attention to who you work well with and who you might butt heads with, past the point of productivity.

Identify what your business needs, and see how you slot into the situation. If you’ve not got the best grasp of the technical side of things, but your startup needs a bit of technical know-how, maybe look for someone who knows their stuff.  

Look inside your network

Who do you know, and who do they know? You might have the perfect co-founder sitting right in front of you. Consider the people in your circle already and think about if they’d be a good match for you and your business - and if they’d be up for joining you on the startup journey.

Maybe you worked really well with a colleague in the past and think you’d make a bit of a dream team when it comes to building your business, broach the subject with them and see what they think. It’s worth remembering that startup life can be a bit intense, so pay careful attention to the relationships that you think could stand the test before going in all guns blazing.

Broaden your horizons

If you can’t find anyone within your own circles, it’s time to look at expanding your network. We’ve already got some tips for networking online, if that’s your sort of thing, but you can also head to some events in your local area to meet people in your industry. If you’re in Glasgow, we’d recommend popping into the RookieOven meetup, but we’re maybe a bit biased.

Take it slow

It can take time to find the right co-founder, and it’s the sort of thing you want to avoid getting wrong. Don’t be tempted to rush into things with someone who might not necessarily be the best fit for you or your business - take a moment to think long term and consider if it’s the right decision for you. Founding a startup can create a high-pressure environment, and you don’t want to cause any unnecessary conflicts that could have been avoided with a bit more consideration.

Test the waters

Following on from that last point, don’t be afraid to take a bit of time to test the waters. Get together with your potential startup co-founders and figure out if you work as well as you think you would. Try to iron out any potential issues, and spend some time being open and honest about what you both can bring to the table as startup founders, as well as what you want to get out of it.

Once you’ve found someone...

Found your match made in heaven? Great! Make sure you put the appropriate legal agreements in place before you get started. Think about ownership, benefits, responsibilities, boundaries and expectations before diving in head first. Sort out your escape routes should things go south - should the worst happen you’ll be grateful you took the time to plan out everything beforehand.

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