Starting a company together is like getting married.
Too many startups get into serious trouble because of issues between the founders. Whether it is conflicting visions for the company, overlapping roles or fundamentally different values and priorities — not talking through the following essentials can really hurt your business in the long-run.
Just remember: Getting into a co-founder partnership is like marrying each other. You will spend a lot of time together, potentially even more than with your partner. You will run into problems down the line if your values don’t match. And the basis of your relationship and the things you own together are manifested in contracts that are hard to get out of.
So take your time and get brutally honest with each other about these points:
- What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses? How would this play into your role at the company?
- Where do you see the company in 1 year, 3 years, 10 years? Are you planning for an exit or do you have a longterm vision for it?
- Where do you see YOURSELF in 1 year, 3 years, 10 years?
- What is your reason WHY? What motivates you to push through hard times?
- How do you define success?
- What are you most afraid of? What is the biggest challenge for you?
- What personal values/ethics are you NOT willing to compromise in business?
- What are your priorities in life? And which of these are more important to you than the company?
- How do you expect your life to change? What are you willing to change? What are you not willing to change?
- Do you want to get external investors on board and if yes, why?
- How long are you willing to try this? What’s your plan B? Do you have a timeline for it?
- What do we do if things go wrong? How do we split up?
- Who is the CEO?
- How are shares divided?