Joseph Yaw Mawunyo is an entrepreneur; CEO of Bilth Studio, a content marketer and volunteers as a content manager and creator for two online portals.
Bilth Studio is a filmmaking, graphic design and social media marketing company looking to contribute to the creative industry and help SME’s promote their businesses online.
This session featured the young CEO and Content Marketer where he talked about finding a co-founder.
Entrepreneurs, especially in our region do not have all the passion, time, skills, resources and the network to give their ideas the fighting chance it may deserve, for this reason, he said finding another head to carry some of the headache is equally necessary as the business idea.
The Importance of a co-founder
He said the importance a co-founder serves is countless depending on your idea and needs, but he covered three major importance of a co-founder to a business idea.
1. What other founders are saying:
According to Tom Tunguz, most successful companies had an average of 2.4 founders. “The number of co-founders is crucial to the success of every startup, and therefore it is very important to have more than one founder” he added.
According to Thomas Koulopoulos, (founder of Delphi Group), startups do better when they have two balanced and fully invested partners.
The keyword here is ‘balanced’; Thomas is pointing out the reason why entrepreneurs need another head, and as we have established, you don’t have all that you need to achieve the success you envisioned.
Startups with more than one founder tend to raise 30% more investment, grow customers three times as fast, and are less likely to scale fast.
2. Getting investors:
Investors do care about great ideas; the idea is what draws them to the table. But one thing that keeps them there is the people behind the idea.
One thing investors look for before investing is a scalable, profitable business idea and also most importantly, they have to demonstrate how the team they have put together will achieve their business objectives.
In getting investors, they want to know that you are not the only person who is passionate about your idea. From investors Perspectives, having one founder is a vote of no confidence.
Because if you can’t even persuade your friends and circle to join you, the odds are against you persuading customers of your idea and that doesn’t prove your investability.
Starting a business is hard; you don’t need anyone to tell you that. The headaches and sleepless nights, charley. Having two founders increase the odds of success.
During the early stages of the startup life, the ability to rely on each other to share the burden, temper risks, collaborate creatively, and take on specific areas of responsibility and to motivate each other is absolutely critical.
Because of the amount of work available to be done, stress is a commodity we can’t escape at this stage, so you need someone who can share this with you. You go to bed knowing that someone else is thinking about the project, that way, you would have peace to sleep well small.
At the beginning of every business, there are loads of expenses, from the small things as buying data for running of the social media pages to getting a working space. Having a co-founder helps so that you can both contribute your pocket money in any small way.
You seriously need someone to complement you in skills. I have met tech entrepreneurs who have deep technology experience and ideas but lack the business skills. There is no way you will know everything or have all the skills you need, So with this, they can look for a co-founder who has the business skills in order to create balance and give the business a fighting chance.
Bringing a co-founder who has complementary skills and a willingness to invest time and resources in the company can be a great way to spread responsibility and ensure that you get the moral support you need to meet investor expectations.
What We Should Look For In A Co-founder:
Finding a co-founder is like finding a life partner and the choice you make can either make or unmake you. It is therefore important to know who you are first before going out to look for someone to complement you.
1. First thing to do is to determine what your needs are.
Pick a pen and a paper and answer these questions first before you go out looking for an investor.
a. What are the overall skills needed for your startups success?
b. What are your strengths and weaknesses in terms of your skills sets and business competencies.
c. What are the vital skills you lack that are important to the business success?
d. Which tasks within the business are you able to perform and which part requires expertise you don’t have?
Answering these questions for your business idea will tell you what you lack and who you need to bring on board to give your idea the chance it requires.
2. Getting specific with your search:
After you have identified the organizational gaps, you should have the idea of who you need to partner with in order to succeed and at this point, you need to be specific.
Again, ask yourself these questions:
a. What exactly am I looking for in a Co-founder?
b. What is the required educational requirement?
c. How experience should the person be?
d. How much exposure should the person have are specialized areas of knowledge or skills?
e. What should be the personality traits of the person?
In a lot of cases, you may want to go for someone who has the same personality like you, they behave like you, think like you, dress like you, went to a particular school.
But note that you want to build balance here, so you go for someone who might be opposite to you in terms of thinking, likes, personalities, risk-taking ability and so on.
You can also promote diversity and look for someone in a different age group, gender, ethnicity, country or even culture. This can help you leverage on their experience and viewpoints.
Where to look for co-founders:
“Your direct personal network or someone in your circle is a great place to start looking. Other places can be seminars, conferences and business groups like Bilth Center. You can also use social media to spread the word that you are hiring” he said.
“It is very important to me that you know that going for close friends and relatives for your idea is very risky. Many brilliant ideas have collapsed and more will collapse because we just went in for our friends and we neglected to do the due diligence” he stressed.
I have talked to a number of startups who are bleeding because of this. I recently had a chat with an HR and she said it is very problematic to go for your friends in your search for Co-founders or even partners. 80-90% of CEOs regret this later.
You shouldn’t go for the friend just because he is your friend and available, go through the appropriate channels we have mentioned so far and if your friend qualifies, praise God.
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