So your next project has gone from a twinkling in your eye to a fully fledged, formatted and formidable idea. And you're feeling pretty excited about it like I was when I first thought up PeoplePerHour. The business plan is on paper, your team are earmarked and you're ready to burst out of the starting blocks. But then it happens - the slow dawning realisation begins to creep up on you - you need a co-founder.
Now it's far too easy to just stick your nose in the air and refuse to admit you need a co-pilot, but in 9 out of 10 cases, let me tell you, you do. Whether you're lacking the technical knowledge of a product you just know will storm the market, or you need a social media/digital marketing expert for that new online service, no entrepreneur can really be an island when it comes to a successful start up. Not unless you're truly a one man band. Also, aside from drawing in expertise and contacts, you may need a co-founder simply for the capital. Or, in some cases, both scenarios apply. So stop shooting yourself in the foot, admit you need help and conquer those proverbial commitment issues. You're going to need a partner.
Mistakes I have seen start-ups make in the past include (but are not limited to) 1. Assuming you can handle everything ; 2. Running ahead without a co-founder and then scrambling to find one when your ship starts to sink (PS - No-one is going to step on board at that point. That would be foolish) or; 3. Not using your network for support and advice in finding a co-founder.
To find the perfect co-founder, you need to figure out what you need. If you're looking for cash and cash only, then this needs to be made very clear. Networking events can score you a spot-on Angel Investor, so if that's what you need then make it manageable from the start. Don't seduce someone in with the promise of input and then slam the boardroom door in their sad little face when they try to get involved.
But if you're after a wing man, someone who can fill in the gaps, then there are plenty of people out there just itching to climb into the passengers seat. They may have it all, the contacts, the missing skills you don't have and the experience you've been dreaming of.
However, they're not just going to be sat on your doorstep with a couple of lattes and a fresh croissant on day one, beaming the grin of the endlessly motivated. You're going to have to go out and find them. First stop - your network. Let people know you're on the market for a co-founder and start to circulate. People love making connections for their connections - It makes them feel like they've done you a favour (which they have) and therefore you owe them one (which you do) and it's this sort of behaviour that business is built upon.
So get out there and find your perfect co-founder. No matter how you find them, remember this first and foremost... Always go with your gut and take recommendations. Then enjoy the ride.