One of the key aspects of good leadership is choosing the right people to do business with. While you can add or subtract down the line, having a strong core of co-founders can make or break a business.
After all, doing it as a team is better than starting any worthwhile endeavor alone. In fact, Paul Graham of seed accelerator Y Combinator warns that having a solo founder is a huge mistake many startups make. Plus, team founders are more likely to get seed capital than those who aren’t.
So before you assemble your A-team, here are the most important things to consider:
They share your vision
As a founder, your main job is to have a vision and commit to it fully. No business has ever grown with the founders going in different directions. If you want your company to move forward, getting co-starters who are committed and contribute to that vision is crucial in forging your path to success. A group of like-minded people guarantees that everyone is aligned with the company’s vision.
People who believe in the potential, viability, and success of your company will add significant value and take your dream as their own. Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of creating a world that is more open and interconnected, resulted in him creating Facebook, and it would never have expanded had he not partnered with people who were as passionate about his company as him. He notes that hiring Sheryl Sandberg as COO has propelled Facebook’s growth.
They complement your strengths
Entrepreneurs face lots of competition to get a product to market, so they should consider a team where all kinds of disciplines are represented. This was the conclusion of a study published by Entrepreneur and Innovation Exchange by top university researchers. The research surveyed 2,000 firms on which configuration is best for starting a company and found that there’s huge merit in diversity.
Getting people who possess expertise complementary to yours can foster resiliency. Even innovative firms can benefit from diverse talent as this can future-proof their business.
They foster continuous learning
Partners that have more experience or have unique perspectives will help you learn and grow as an entrepreneur. With a larger experience pool among partners, it’s easier to establish a continuous learning model for your startup. At the same time, The Balance’s Jean Murray stresses that the more people involved in a startup, the more likely it is that you need some form of legal counsel. While partnerships, LLCs, and corporations have the advantage of putting more heads together, it comes with complexities that require an actual attorney. And although legal counsel may cost a pretty penny, acquiring it can save your company from losses and litigation in the future.
Alternatively, partners can invest in taking legal and/or negotiation courses together to cover this crucial part of starting a business. Contrary to popular belief, Special Counsel explains that you don’t actually need a law degree to specialize in legal contracts, an aspect of the law that’s essential for every startup to navigate. If you can’t afford a lawyer right now, you should invest in continuously learning about the laws that are salient to your field or industry. This is much easier to do with partners that are willing to train alongside you in order to ensure your continuous growth.
Learning from and with each other is vital to withstanding the inevitable ups and downs that business world will throw at you. Partnerships, in the end, are gauged by the company’s overall growth. Good partnerships only work if all of you share the same vision and commitment necessary for success.