How to Choose Your Business Partner

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How to Choose Your Business Partner

"A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts", Richard Branson
“A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts”, Richard Branson

It is very important to pick the proper partner in your startup. It is the most crucial part of any business. Who should you have a venture with?

The most critical period of any startup is the first year then the first five years. If you pass this period, most probably you will succeed and survive in your business.

It is highly recommended to have 2 co-founders. Increasing the number would not increase efficiency rather than increasing complexity of the relationship and coordination.

Herein below a list of tips for choosing your partner and future co-founder of your business.

The power of two

Two is the right number. Think Jobs and Wozniak, Allen and Gates, Ellison and Lane, Hewlett and Packard, Larry and Sergei, Yang and Filo, Omidyar and Skoll.

One founder companies can work, against the odds (hello, Mark Zuckerberg). So can three founder companies (hello, @biz, @ev, and @jack). In three founder companies, the politics can be tough — gang-up votes, jockeying for board seats, etc. — but it’s manageable. Four is an extremely unstable configuration and five is right out. When 4-5 founder companies work, it’s because two founders dominate.

Two founders works because unanimity is possible, there are no founder politics, interests can easily align, and founder stakes are high post-financing.

Someone you have history with

Choosing someone you know and tested in various situation is a crucial point. You need to know your partner very well with great harmony not just normal relationship.

One builds, one sells

The best builders can prototype and perhaps even build the entire product, end-to-end. The best sellers can sell to customers, partners, investors, and employees.

The seller doesn’t have to be a “salesman” or “business guy”. He can be technical, but he must be able to wield the tools of influence. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs weren’t salesmen, but they are sellers.

Aligned motives required

If one founder wants to build a cool product, another one wants to make money, and yet another wants to be famous, it won’t work.

Pay close attention — true motivations are revealed, not declared.

Pick “nice” guys

Avoid overly rational short-term thinkers. There are bounds to rationality. Partner with someone who is irrationally ethical, or a rational believer that nice guys finish first. Be especially careful with the “sales” guy here.

This blog post is mostly built upon a nice article of How to pick a co-founder. Have a nice Startup!

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