Characteristics of a Great Co-Founder

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choosing a business partnerBefore you ask someone to join you on your business venture, make sure they have these characteristics.

Choosing a business partner is a bit like choosing someone to marry. You’ll spend innumerable hours together, and there may be disagreements, but you will work together toward a common goal. It is a choice that should not be taken lightly, and the co-founder you choose will have a significant impact on your business. Before you ask someone to join you on your business venture, make sure they have these characteristics.

Skills That Complement Yours

The ideal business partner has a skill set that complements yours. His or her strengths should balance your weaknesses. Look for someone who has qualities you lack. It will be easier to define your roles within the business, and you’ll gain a new level of expertise or experience. You’ll also challenge each other more and take different approaches to problem solving. Ultimately, this will balance your business and make it stronger.

Similar Mission

If there is one thing you and your co-founder must be on the same page about, it is the mission of your business. Founding teams often break down because partners want different things from the business. One dreams of building a huge company while the other wants to sell early.

You may disagree with your partner on some things, but you have to share the same values and goals.

Flexibility and Open-Mindedness

Starting a business comes with many surprises, and having a partner who can adjust to unforeseen obstacles is a huge asset. Look for someone who won’t sweat the small stuff and has the flexibility needed to build your startup. It will pay off in the long run.

Industry Knowledge

This one seems like a given, but too many people are interested in becoming co-founders simply because they have general business experience. While overall business savvy is important, your co-founder should have a good understanding of your industry. If you are in the biotech business, he or she should have some sort of science background. If you’re breaking into the software business, look for someone with an understanding of the industry. That’s the only way they can help you make sound business decisions.

Great Communication Skills

You’ll be communicating a lot with your co-founder, and he or she needs to be able to clearly articulate ideas, opinions and decisions with you, your employees and your clients. The co-founder you choose should be able to speak well, write well, interact through social media and network like a pro.