When you are trying to start a startup is recommended that you have one or more co-founders. It will be an emotional rollercoaster and, also you’ll be able to leverage the strengths of your team. I guess it also can make it more fun if you enjoy working with other people, it can get lonely and it’s nice to have someone you can talk that is going through the same things.
Co-founders come in different shapes and sizes. Some will have as much (or more) skin in the game as you and some others will see the startup as a little pet project. It’s your job to find their superpower and build an environment where they can use it. There are some common superpowers:
- Builder: It is the person that can build the startup product. Maybe they are skilled in machine learning, web development, or IoT. The nuance here is: are they able to know what they need to build? When you are in a startup or a bootstrapped company time and resources are very limited. You have to be scrappy and just build what you need to build. Is this person able to tell when they are over-optimizing?
- Sales: This is more than we normally think of. We might think about a smooth talker, that has connections in the industry and can get us any meeting we need. Ideally, it should be more than that. This person should be able to find a problem, convince the team why you need to solve it, know the industry well, and have credibility with future clients. Being able to walk the whole end to end will make this person a superhero, sometimes you’ll find someone who has only a part of these skills and that is ok.
- Operations: You need someone who looks that there is no I with a dot or T without a cross. Somebody who is able to track deadlines, dependencies, and make sure everything is running. How are we invoicing? Do we have to pay taxes? These tasks might look menial, but if you ignore them the problem can get big and distract you from what you should be doing.
Superpowers might look like they are three different people. Humans are unpredictable and you might find people with different levels in these three superpowers. That is perfect and makes the teamwork better.
I think the most important part of these superpowers is execution. If you have a great salesperson (just as I described earlier) but are not doing the things mentioned, it won’t work.
In a startup knowing stuff or knowing people does not help a lot. It helps if you get meetings with the people you know and they actually help the startup. It does not help if you have 25 years of experience in the industry but you don’t show up when the product decisions are being made. It does not help if you are an incredible builder but you’ve spent 2 weeks optimizing a part of the code and you are behind your product deadline. It does not help if you know a lot of people in companies that might buy your product if you don’t go out there and talk to them.
Are you interested in finding a product/idea for your next startup? I am writing an ebook about my experience and what I learned. It might be able to save you some time and money. https://gumroad.com/l/HGuGX