When searching for a co-founder to help you start your business, what’s the top trait you should look for? Why?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
1. Matching Core Values
Core values that match are the beginning of a fruitful co-founder relationship. One of the core values I looked for was a GSD profile — Get-Stuff-Done. It’s important to have a co-founder who functions at the same speed with the same intensity as you, but also with the same core values. Work challenges will inevitably come up, so we’ve found that using our value system as a North Star helps.
2. A Growth Mindset
Look for someone who has a growth mindset. These are people who at a fundamental level believe that their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, who don’t rely on natural talent to carry them. Having a growth mindset is critical for navigating the inevitable conflicts that come with growing a business. It’s the one trait that allows all other traits to be developed over time.
I believe that we should be yin and yang in terms of strengths and weaknesses, background and skills, but that’s where the major trait should arise. How accountable is this person to take a stand when there’s a need for them to step up, to admit their mistakes and correct them accordingly, to lead and be responsible whenever or wherever? It’s important to be accountable to each other because you both care.
A co-founder should be respectful because when they respect you, they’re also honest and will understand what your individual capacities are. They will understand that you have a distinct set of skills as they have, and will work with you on both your weak and strong areas. When respect is mutual, there will definitely be great teamwork that can surpass the challenges of a startup.
5. A Willingness to Learn
The key to finding the right co-founder is to find someone willing to learn. Starting a business is a stressful situation, and there’s a steep learning curve. You don’t want to partner with someone who struggles to adapt. Otherwise, you risk running into some friction when it’s time to make big decisions.
You can’t start a business with a dishonest person. This goes beyond business and requires a close look at their integrity as an individual in all facets of their life. If you’ve caught them in a lie or found them exaggerating the truth or being in any way flippant about the truth, then I’d strongly reconsider whether you want to go in on a venture with them.
7. Complementary Skills
It’s important to look for a partner who will help you get to the finish line by bringing something to the table. Finding someone with a different skill set can help you fill in the gaps where you might fall short. Look for your weaknesses and see if your potential partner can fill in those gaps. If they can’t help you up, they’re probably not the best fit.
When searching for a co-founder for your business, make sure you work with someone who shares the same passion as you do. If you’re the only one excited about the company and its potential, then you’ll also be the only one who’s more motivated and productive. Sit down with potential partners to gauge where their head is at and how they feel about the business so you know what to expect.