Do you need a Cofounder? Find out by asking 6 simple questions
Updated: Aug 24
You're embarking on a new venture, or perhaps you've already started your business, and you're working solo.
Figuring out whether you'd benefit from bringing in a cofounder is vital. It could be exactly what's needed to really up-level your business, allowing you to put your time and energy into the aspects of the work which you're best at.
So how to decide whether now is the right time to bring someone new in? And how to know what role the cofounder would take? What gaps would they fill?
Time to get to the bottom of this, by asking 6 simple questions, much like a journalist would... why, how, what, where, when and who.
1. Why do you need a cofounder?
Start with the why, and the rest will soon become clear. So, why do you want a cofounder? What is your reasoning, and what is the need you have which a cofounder might fulfil?
Maybe there's a side to the business where you lack the expertise and experience to really move things forward: you're skilled in tech, but not in sales, for example.
Try to understand what your thinking is around this idea - perhaps you're thinking that bringing someone else in to share the workload would provide you with more time and energy to work 'on the business, not in the business'.
Once you've clearly established what your needs are, the fundamental reasons why you're seeking a cofounder, then you can ask yourself whether there is any other solution to your concerns and to fulfilling these needs without a cofounder.
2. How do you find a Cofounder?
There are two main 'hows' to consider here. How will you find the cofounder, and how will you create your cofounder agreement.
Do you have anyone in mind? Or, do you have contacts in your network who may be able to connect you with suitable candidates, based on your needs? Is it just one cofounder you need, or will you need more than one person in order to meet these requirements?
A cofounder agreement, in my view, is imperative when going into business. How will you go about creating your agreement? Drafting up an agreement is how you'll be able to express and manage both your expectations and theirs, which will also lead you to a deeper level of understanding of how you will work together.
3. What is the reality of having a Cofounder.
Going through the 'how' then raises some questions about what this new arrangement is going to look like.
What level of commitment is the cofounder expected to have, and will this be something they can do on the side of a full time job? Or are you confident that you need this to be a 50:50 clearcut arrangement, where it is #1 priority, a full time commitment for both of you?
In addition, you should take a look at what you're willing to give in terms of equity or payment, and what kind of legal requirements there may be.
Understanding what the arrangement between you should look like will give yo a realistic view of whether having a cofounder is something you can feasibly commit to right now.
4. Where are you on your business journey?
This is important to consider. Are you still in the ideas phase, where you've identified a common problem and come up with a solution? Or have you already established the business and registered it legally?
Where are you with branding? Have you established your brand positioning, or is this something still to do?
Where are you with finances? Have you considered the type of budget you'll need for this venture?
How about product or service design, is this already set in stone?
Where you are on the journey of your business is key to understanding whether you need a cofounder, and in which capacity. Because at every stage of the journey there are different needs and wants, and so this might help you answer the 'why' question too.
5. When do you need a Cofounder?
Next, let's consider your timeframe. Now that you've established where you're at on your journey, you can look into when exactly you'll need someone to come onboard.
Is it an immediate need, or have you identified that it's more for a later stage that you have yet to reach?
If the needs you have are limited to one specific stage of the business development, then maybe you only need a cofounder for a particular time period, not for the business' lifespan. If that's the case, you could consider bringing in an acting cofounder instead.
6. Who is your ideal Cofounder?
Final question: who. Who do you have in mind?
After having whittled down the bigger question of whether you need a cofounder, it'll now be easier to answer this final question which will direct you towards the right candidate.
Who is your ideal cofounder? Is it a technical cofounder, or someone with business prowess? Is it someone who's available full time, immediately, or someone who can commit to the project as a side hustle?
This gives you all the pieces of the puzzle. Now you can be confident that you have a proper understanding of whether you need a cofounder, and in what capacity.
If you're now wondering how to go about finding that cofounder, head to this blog post which might help you answer that.