Having two founders instead of one equips a startup with some important advantages and can bring in disproportionately rich rewards. Here is a quick run-through of those.
(In this article, the words ‘partner’ and ‘co-founder’ have been used interchangeably.)
A sparring partner
When you are faced with complex operational issues or have to strategise for your company, you can do it along with your co-founder. In situations like these, two heads are definitely better than one. Your partner will bring his/her perspectives, ideas and opinions, while you will contribute yours. Together, both of you will have a multi-dimensional view of matters. The decisions you take finally will, therefore, likely be better.
Half the workload
You and your partner/co-founder can split the various aspects of the business between yourselves so that each one of you focuses on a certain number of aspects. That way, you can each give more time and attention to the areas you look after (such as product quality, marketing, sales, finance, people management, etc.), while halving the individual workload at the same time. The key here is to find a partner whose skills and experience complement yours. For instance, if you have a flair for sales, marketing and other customer-facing functions, your partner ideally should be a back-end ace, who can oversee aspects like logistics, quality and finance.
Imagine having to manage your business end-to-end all by yourself. Not that you can’t do it, but isn’t it much better to lead only some aspects of the business and lead them extremely well?
Double the energy, double the connections
Having a co-founder ensures that energy levels at the top immediately double. You and your partner can egg each other on and make sure that the positive energy each of you brings to work rubs off on the other. In fact, I have found that the effect of having two highly-motivated and focused founders usually rubs off on the entire team in any organization.
The same effect applies to the number of professional connections and partnerships you are able to generate for your company.
An emotional buffer
As an entrepreneur, you will often feel lonely, as you go about the arduous task of setting up and building an organization. Fighting odds, fending off challenges, figuring out the right move, putting things in place - all this can sap one’s energy and at times, one’s will too. It is at moments like these that you feel the need for a partner most keenly. Having someone who can relate to your problems, fears and concerns and lend you some emotional support can make a load of difference to your morale. Your partner can also help you bounce back quickly from a low phase.
Someone to hold the fort
In your absence from office/work – like when you go on a holiday or attend a business meet out of town - your partner will oversee the functions you were leading. He will direct the functional teams accordingly and monitor progress. Very importantly, he will be on hand as a troubleshooter, should a crisis erupt. And when it is his turn to be absent from work, you will do the same for him.
Someone to celebrate with
Celebrations are far more colourful when you have a partner to celebrate with. Things like achieving a milestone, bagging a new order, winning an award, etc. become extra-special if there is someone else to whom these things mean as much as they mean to you.
And so, if you have been planning to go it solo, you may want to think about that decision again and maybe, rope in a suitable co-founder for your enterprise.
‘All this is fine,’ you may think, ‘but how the hell do I choose the right co-founder for my start-up? What kind of a person should I look for?’
A valid and very important question, for sure. I will try to answer it in my next post.
About the author:
Ganesh Vancheeswaran is a Marketing professional, writer and mentor to entrepreneurs. BHAAG!, his book on student entrepreneurs of India, was released recently. It is available on flipkart.com, amazon.in and bookadda.com. Ganesh lives in Bangalore and can be contacted on thewholehog(at)gmail.com and facebook.
Ganesh’s previous articles:
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