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Questions to Ask Before Taking a Co-Founder

Last updated: October 25, 2017

Choosing a co-founder for your business is one of the most difficult and important decisions that you will take in your life. This is because the future success and growth of your business depend on this person.

Sometimes you may be lucky enough to find your co-founder in the daily hustle and bustle of work. But usually, you have to look hard for the right person. A lot of looking, contemplating and thoughtful consideration goes into choosing your co-founder.

Let us look at the important questions you need to ask yourself before you choose the person who will work hand in hand with you for the growth and development of your business.

#1 Does He Have Skills That Complement Yours?

The first question you need to ask yourself is what skillset you want the person to possess. Of course, it seems quite compelling to choose a person who is somewhat a replica of yourself, but this is not a good idea. You should, in fact, choose a person who has a different skillset from yours.

For instance, if you are a programmer, he should be a marketer. If you are an introvert, he should be an extrovert and so forth.

You should look at the future of the business when considering complementary skills in this person. For instance, if you know that you will need funding, then you should look for a person who has a persuasive and compelling style and attitude.

At the same time, if you aim to approach a particular target audience, then you should choose someone who is well versed in the psyche and culture of this target group. This will enable him to appeal to them in a personalized manner.

One tried and tested method for choosing a co-founder is the ‘one builds and one sells’ method. In this approach, one co-founder is responsible for building the product and the other is responsible for selling it. This is a perfect approach for most startups.

If you are looking for different skillsets in your co-founder, you should also make sure to check whether you share some similar interests instead. This is necessary to build a sense of camaraderie which is necessary for areas outside of work.

#2 Are Your Vision and Values in Alignment?

There is a lot of passion involved in the setting up of a startup, but this should not obscure the difference in values. This is because similar vision and values are necessary to ensure compatibility overall.

Such compatibility is necessary to ensure that you both work towards the same goal in a productive partnership. You may already be aware of the vision and values of your co-founder if you have been in interaction with him over a period.

It is necessary that you and your co-founder should want the same thing. It may be a desire to sell the business someday, become rich and famous or anything else. You should have the same desires about your business.

It is easy to let the excitement of starting a new business to obscure such differences, but these are necessary if you want your co-founder and yourself to work in harmony with each other.

#3 Is Your Co-Founder Eager to Learn?

Your co-founder is as responsible for the growth of your company as you are. This is the reason that he should not be the type of person who thinks he has life all figured out. Of course, he should have experience in life, but more important is a desire to learn new things throughout life.

This is because the people best suited for a startup are the ones who wish to keep enhancing their knowledge. The more they learn the more they will grow both personally and in the business.

#4 What is the Level of Energy of the Person?

Startups are meant for people who are strong of heart, will and fast in pace. This is because a startup has to grow at an exponential pace and this type of growth requires a lot of input of energy. Pivots take energy, scaling takes energy and survival itself takes energy.

You need to ask yourself whether your co-founder has the physical and mental energy to keep going during tough times, hang on during the slow times and keep aiming for growth at all times.

#5 Does Your Co-Founder Have the Right Amount of Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is essentially the ability to identify and manage your own emotions as well as the emotions of others.

It has long been accepted in the business world that emotional intelligence is more important than mental intelligence. This is because your ability to survive and succeed in the modern business scenario depends on how you manage your emotions.

This is especially true in the environment of a startup where you will face a lot of rough and tumble. Of course, there are instances of emotionally erratic people becoming good business leaders, but usually, they tend to do it alone as they are unable to adapt to another person.

In a startup scenario, you will face many situations which will cause you to lose your cool, let fly at people or simply collapse in a heap of emotions. However, if you want to succeed with a startup, it is necessary to resist this urge and stay calm and composed. You need to keep going in all types of situations.

This is a quality that should be present not only in your co-founder but also in you.

#6 Is Your Co-Founder Flexible in His Attitude?

As the co-founder of a startup, you never know what your schedule throughout the day is going to be like. All in a day’s work, you could be hiring an employee, convincing investors and even doing some cleaning work while you are at it.

This is the reason that you as well as your co-founder should be masters of flexibility. In other words, both of you should have the ability to do almost anything at any time. If your co-founder has this kind of flexibility in his approach, then it is definitely a boon for your startup.


Of course, you may not be able to find a perfect co-founder, because there is no such thing as a perfect human being. However, you do need to consider the traits and qualities that will work towards the success of your startup.

Always bear in mind that the person in question may lack a few qualities as a leader, but it is necessary that he is able to gel with you and the same applies to you. This is because basic compatibility issues can mess up the smoothness and harmony which you need for the growth of your business.

There are other qualities that you may want your co-founder to possess and it is a good idea to make a list of such qualities and then check whether the person that you have in mind has them or not. However, do remember that as the co-founder of a startup, it is the success of the business that you should consider paramount and not the gratification of your personal ego.

Questions to Ask Before Taking a Co-Founder
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