Keeping a healthy co-founder relationship4 years ago Arpita Soma
Finding a CoFounder for your startup is very similar to and is nothing less daunting than finding to a life partner. You are making a commitment. You look for people who share a common vision and passion, judge them on compatibility, intelligence, ethics and a hell lot of other qualities, meet a couple of times and then get married (atleast most of the times!)
Startups are similar to marriage in so many ways. You need to spend considerable time and energy to nurture and nourish the relationship and is an emotional roller-coaster, just like a marriage. As founders, we often spend every waking moment working together , thinking and discussing about the ‘baby’(startup) , planning about the future and finances, staying focussed and motivated and not letting the other one down. You try to maintain the equilibrium and when one is down the other is ready to pat the shoulder and get the team going!
Someone once told me that the beauty of marriage doesn’t lie in getting married, but, in staying married. And somehow, I think that is very much applicable to founders and startups too.
At every startup event I have attended, I run into at least two people with an eye out for the Mr. Right (or Miss. Right) . You may meet them at a startup event, a networking session or even while partying with friends. A lot of friends come together, share a common vision and start up. Even if you share a great frequency and a common vision, it is very important to maintain a healthy cofounder relationship as a lot of startups fail when things turn sour between the founders.
- Test the waters. Try to collaborate and work together on a few events or a pilot project before diving into the deep sea (starting up).
- Define each others roles and responsibilities and set goals.
- Agree to disagree. It is acceptable for two cofounders to have different points of view on everything.
- Fight it out. Just like a married couple. It is healthy to have arguments and get over with things and don’t take them personally.
- Communicate constantly. Keep each other informed of every important issue. Don’t skip the weekly meetings for anything in the world.
- Building trust is the key aspect of maintaining a healthy cofounder relationship. Trust is built by not just working together . Meet each others families, share and empathise with each other on important issues in life.
- Make time for each other outside of the office. Catch up for a coffee once in a while and speak about anything other than work.
- Respect each other and keep the ego in check.
And just like a marriage, it is the journey and the little things that matter. Appreciate each other and celebrate milestones at your startup.