One of the biggest myths that everyone believes: being a solo founder is the way to go. Personally I blame the plethora of movies that glorify and romanticise the struggles of starting a business from the scratch. There are too many movies that make it seem that doing things single handedly is the only was to be successful or to make things seem worthy of praise.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Being a founder is very difficult, whether you have been in the game from the past day or for 7 years. There will always be new obstacles and harder problems to overcome, an empire cannot be built overnight, and certainly not by just one person.
And having someone to help you is better than trying to do everything and failing. Having another person to help with responsibilities and work is the smart way to go. Or even just to bounce ideas off of. The point is to work smart, not hard.
Entrepreneurs are problem-solvers, we use traditional methods, radical ideas and great teams to build successful ventures. We do all that it takes to achieve greatness and to do better, no matter what – we are all in. But sometimes we need help and there is no shame in asking for it.
In the end it is always better to have a partner than to get burnt-out and failing miserably.
There are various reasons why it can be beneficial, both mentally and physically. Having a co-founder means that you can take more breaks, you work more effectively if you are happy and well rested, both of which come from a healthy working experience and from not overworking. This also means that there will be someone to handle things if you get sick or are unavailable in meetings.
One founder can handle the inner workings and employees, while the other can take up the external meetings with investors or collaborators and the production process. Or one can handle the domestic firm while the other can do the out-states/country trips. This allows a flexible partnership and increases the range of talents and expertise.
If implemented, more things can be done better and faster if jobs and tasks are delegated, by virtue of specialization in portfolios. Always bring in a co-founder with complementary skill sets, so that task can be allotted according to the particular thing the founder is proficient at. For example, if you are good at marketing and product/service management, bring in someone who is good at the legal or finance aspects of it.
While running is good for health, it is meant to be done for 20-30 minutes a day,however founders end up doing a bit too much of it, for far too long with no breaks. This can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, to the point that you end up getting sick and have to take a week’s leave to get back to working form. Not very efficient, is it?
You can see this practice put to effect in various positions, like CEO’s, CFO’s and company presidents. It might not be a very popular implementation, but it works wonders – claimed by the companies itself.
Companies like Chipotle, Whole Foods and Deutschen Bank have two CEO’s. A few, like Samsung, even have three!
However the issue comes to when dealing with tasks that require prompt decision making and the veto power. When onboarding a co-founder, we strongly suggest making clear and concise distinctions on who holds the veto and who has a secondary position, and who handles what part and workings of the firm.
From what we have seen, it is better to have a cofounder in the long run and for your own sanity and health. Just like the saying goes ‘two heads are better than one’.