Most of the time, a startup entrepreneur has a good business idea, but doesn’t know how to build the product. Or, the entrepreneur has deep technology skills, but is lacking in business skills.

In many cases, these entrepreneurs are on the hunt for co-founders to help them build their businesses. The problem is, they often don’t know how to start the process or where best to look.

Two heads are always better than one in a startup. Both need to share the passion, long-term opportunity and risk, rather than just getting paid to do a job, win or lose. Investors worry about a single entrepreneur getting overloaded, disabled or led astray, with no balancing and supporting partner. The challenge is how to find that elusive perfect-fit partner.

Here are some things you should consider in your startup phase when finding the right person to get your business off the ground.


1. Do you have the same goals and vision?

It’s not just about making money or providing a service. You and your partner need to be committed to the same purpose. Do you want to build a huge company or are you just trying to get it to a point where you can sell it? Make sure you’re on the same page with the co-founder.

2. Do you have complementary skill sets?

Having a partner that balances your strengths and weaknesses is invaluable. If you’re great with budgeting and planning, find someone who can be the marketing face. Maybe you tend to be more cautious; find a co-founder who is going to help push you out of your comfort zone while you keep that person from being too reckless. Balance.

You should also find someone with a different network from yours and who solves problems differently. This makes your team stronger and brings more to the table.

3. Do you respect this person?

You are going to be spending a lot of time with this individual. You better be able to respect them and enjoy their personality.Anything that grates on you now, will only get worse. Don’t think this individual is going to change.

Certainly, you hope that they will grow and learn, but if they’re a spendthrift, you can’t expect change right away.

4. Are they a learner?

You want your co-founder to have experience, but you also don’t want them to stop learning. Choose someone who is going to keep learning about different aspects of your business and industry.

5. Do they have the drive to keep going?

Energy is important, because it’s going to take a lot to get your business off the ground. You both are going to need an enormous amount of energy to get through the hurdles ahead.

You want someone with physical, mental, and emotional stamina to hang on when it gets tough and to keep pushing when you’re growing.

For the success of your startup, finding the right co-founder is one of the most important things that a new entrepreneur needs to do. There are so many challenges in a startup that no founder should try to go it alone. When you find someone that works, you will be together on your next startup, and the one after that. Great teams persevere, and success breeds success.

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