Nine months ago I started my first company called Confusing Homework. Unlike most college students, I didn’t want to just get a degree and work for someone, I wanted to create my own business. In this article I am going to explain one of the first mistakes I made and how you can prevent repeating it.
When I came up with the idea for my free online tutoring company I, like most people my age, automatically thought of a friend to help me start it. So I quickly finished a beta version to show my friend and “convinced him” to help me run the company. At first he was not sure of the idea but as I started talking we got excited thinking about the possibilities and how we could make a difference. However, what we didn’t realize is all the work that would be involved in making a company run and the time commitment it took.
After the first few weeks of working on getting a product created and finding members to test it I started to realize that my friend and I might be great friends but had very different business styles. I discovered that I had done what everyone had told me not to do… have a friend co-found just because he was my friend. We started discussing the issues and spent weeks not getting work done but trying to get the same business style and make the partnership last. Slowly we started to determine that we were not a good fit and after a few weeks we decided to call it quits and end our partnership.
You may be thinking what was the point of that story? What I want to stress is how important it is to have the correct co-founder and not to rush into it. When looking for a co-founder there are multiple things you need to take into account before you actually make your final decision.
1. Business Style
The most important thing in my opinion is to determine if your business styles match. What I mean by that is do you both want to get this thing done and work at all times of the night and day to finish it? Do you both want to work on it during your free time? If one wants to work on it full time and another wants to do it part time then issues will start to arise.
2. Compatible Personalities
The second important thing when choosing a co-founder is to determine if you will be able to get along as things go wrong and get stressful. One thing I learned is if the two founders of the company do not get along, the company will struggle.
3. Company Contribution
The last point to visit would be to ask yourself if they can contribute to the company what you are lacking. For example, if you are a web developer but you have no experience in business then it would be a great idea to look for a business co-founder. I cannot stress this one enough. Do not get someone that doesn’t have anything to offer even if in the back of your mind you think you can teach them. If you have to teach them what to do and how to do it then you would be better off waiting and finding a more qualified candidate.
Overall, I think that selecting a co-founder can be a very simple thing to do. However, selecting the perfect co-founder will be extremely difficult and takes quite a bit of time and thinking on your side of things. Just remember to take your time and do your research so that you and your business won’t regret it later down the road.
Bryce Moral is a 20-year-old and the current CEO of Confusing Homework Inc. We offer free online tutoring, a calendar system to help keep you on track, and a marketplace allowing you to buy, sell, and trade books, notes, and other services.
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Category: Startup Advice