Is cofounding the right choice for you?
There are many reasons why building a business with a cofounding team as compared to going solo is a good option to consider.
The main benefits of business partnerships include combined synergies, shared risk and responsibilities and very often also external investor preference.
Even after considering the typical business partnership benefits, for some people going solo and acquiring the necessary resources and capacity in other ways (employees, mentors, advisors, loan financing) is the more suitable option. The absolutely essential question to ask as the first step is – is business partnership the right choice for you?
The typical partnership disqualifiers you want to review before answering the question are:
# You have all the essential resources to get the business going by yourself
If you have all the essential resources to get the business going by yourself and you are considering business partnerships it might be either because you do not want to do it by yourself or you prefer to have a team. In either case, consider other ways to address these preferences. Adding employees to create a team if you prefer to work in a team. Or creating a network of mentors and ambassadors if it feels too lonely. It is a valid reason but not good enough reason to get a cofounder if it is the only reason! Many cofounder decisions gone wrong could be traced down to this one.
# You prefer to keep full control of the business
There is no way around this one. If you prefer to keep full control of your future business, you are best positioned by remaining a sole founder. In cofounding teams, even if you remain the majority shareholder, you will lose part of the control of your business. It depends a lot on the legal set-up and your cofounding agreement, where you can tweak some of that. The fact remains though that once you include other partners in your business you no longer have the full control of it.
# You are not a team player
Without any judgments attached, knowing yourself is the best starting point. And if you know you are not a team player, you might do much better by growing your team with employees rather than cofounders – more flexible, much clearer hierarchy and no need to push the square peg through the round hole.
If the answer to any of the above points is yes, business partnership might not be the right choice for you. It is much better to consider it carefully before going down that route, rather than realizing later that business partnership was not the most suitable model and having to go through the process of reversing that decision.