When it comes to founding your startup, should you go it alone?

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This is a conundrum faced by many startup founders. Is it best to forge your own path or find a co-founder who shares your dream and vision and can partner in your business startup? 

When you consider startup businesses through the ages, it almost seems like the norm to have a co-founder – Proctor and Gamble, Hewlett Packard, Apple and even Ben & Jerry’s (to name a few), but it is not necessary all of the time. There are times when the idea or the moment that is the foundation for your startup happens on your own – it comes to you, and you decide how to transform the idea into a product or service and then take it to market. At this point, you may not have anyone who shares your vision, nor may you want a co-founder, it is your personal decision. 

You still need to build a team around you

One thing to remember, though, is that being a solo founder still means that you need to build a team around you. You can’t do everything yourself, so you need to find like-minded people who will share your passion, drive and vision whilst bringing complementary skills to your boardroom and steering committee. This founding team will be your biggest support system whilst you complete the rounds of investment and begin to scale up your business. 

The team that you build will also provide an environment where norms can be challenged, ideas can be debated, opinions shared, and mistakes avoided. All of this will make for a strong decision-making group that will help to steer your business startup in the right direction. 

As a solo founder, hiring the right team and building the right organisation from the start will help to yield positive results and make your startup a success. 


What’s different when you already have a co-founder or co-founders (yes, there can be more than two of you!)? 

So, who is your co-founder? These are the people that not only share your vision and your passion for bringing your idea to fruition, but these are also people who have equal “skin in the game”. They may have equal shares of investment with both money and time, and they will play an instrumental role in any decision making that is required to move your startup through the rounds of investment that will be required. If they are not part of this process, then they are not your co-founder – they are just part of your team. 

Co-founders also need to be people that you can work with. They must have styles and drivers that match or complement your own. You have to be able to collaborate and support one another in order to get the startup going, but they may also be someone who has experience of founding successful startups and be able to act as a mentor and a sounding board – albeit one with equity in the business. 

Ultimately the choice is yours – as the old saying goes, “Teamwork makes the dream work”, but also “too many cooks spoil the broth”. If you don’t feel that you can find the right co-founder, or you prefer to go it alone, then you will find your own path to success. 

If you are a startup founder, be it solo or part of a group, but you need to build the right team, then why not speak to me. I have helped many founders find and build the right team around them to drive their own businesses forwards because I work with them to understand their vision and help to translate it into a reality with the right people at the boardroom table. 

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