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Do You Need a Co-Founder for Your Startup?

What successful entrepreneurs feel about the need for a co-founder?

How important is an entrepreneur to the growth and success of a startup? There is the story of how Steve Wozniak remained a kid in the basement making computers till Steve Jobs came along. There is also the story of how Jeff Bezos started Amazon without the need for a co-founder to help him out. So what's the verdict? Well, the answer is - it depends.

Trust In Partnership
Partnering in a startup is all based on trust. And who better do you trust than a friend or a close relative who could possibly complement your skills? But according to Jay Barnett, the founder of Priority Pickup, friendship and money don't mix. Writing on the Next Web, Jay points out that disagreements are an inevitable component of founding a startup with a co-founder. And when they do happen, it is a lot of distraction that could veer your startup away from its intended path.

Complementing Skills
While potential disagreements in future can be a reason to not go with a co-founder, there are some serious reasons against this. One of the most important reasons is complementing skills. If you are a product designer/coder, you may not always have the skills to market it. Also, if you are a great marketing person, you may not have the skills to design and bring the product to life. By finding a partner who complements your skill, you could together strive towards success of a product without too many areas where your decision making overlaps; thereby running your company with minimal friction.

Having said that, Naval Ravikant, the founder of AngelList advises that the ideal co-founder will be of the same age and financial situation as you are. These are factors that will contribute to opinions on how to steer the company.

Finding Contractors
You do not have to find a co-founder for the sole purpose of finding someone with a complementing skill. Not all businesses need a person who will be coding all the time, for instance. In such cases, it is better to find a reliable third party contractor who can do the work for you. Not only is it cheaper (contractors may appear expensive, but they do not eat away your equity holding in the company), but also they ensure that you remain the sole decision maker in the company. With a programming co-founder, you have to both give away equity as well as lose decision making authority to an extent.

All said and done, there is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to finding a co-founder for your startup. Depending on what you do and how you do it, you may or may not need a co-founder. But if you are someone who appears to have stalled the progress on their business idea solely for the lack of a co-founder, do note that bigger companies have been built without a co-founder. So let the absence of a partner alone not make you sit idle on an idea. Get started and your hunt for a co-founder can always happen on the side.

More Stories By Harry Trott

Harry Trott is an IT consultant from Perth, WA. He is currently working on a long term project in Bangalore, India. Harry has over 7 years of work experience on cloud and networking based projects. He is also working on a SaaS based startup which is currently in stealth mode.

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