Cofounder trial period - date first
If you are considering onboarding a cofounder – the wise strategic choice is to try to work together before making the final commitment. Similar to any employment relationship – where probation period is set by law – it is recommended to create similar conditions before inviting others to join your company as cofounders. In order to do it right, you need to set the framework and define the conditions. It is frequently the different assumptions of the parties that are basis of future disappointments and disagreements. The best advise is prevention.
You need to first define which skills, resources and assets are you looking for in your future cofounder (aligned to your business plan milestones!) – check Blog nr.2 Who is the right cofounder for your business
When you found the right candidate, you need to agree:
a) How long is the testing period: typically this period is recommended to be between 1-6 months – just long enough to provide sufficient chance for both parties to check if they are the right fit.
b) What are the objectives - typically find out for both parties if you work well together, demonstrate the skills required etc. Spell it out. Simple and clear. It is the best way to avoid any future disagreements and also to check if both parties are starting the cooperation with the same understanding and intention. More on milestones in the next post.
c) What happens if you decide to continue working together after or during the testing period AND what happens you do not
Here is a typical example of what happens unless this point is properly defined upfront:
Eva was working for few months on developing the idea of marketplace platform when Martin – Eva’s ex-colleague, who liked her idea, offered to join as a CTO to develop the technical part of the business. They started to intensely work on the project together. After 2.5 months it was becoming clear that their idea about commitment and delivery were too different and Martin was not able to dedicate as much time as was needed by the project and moreover – did not have sufficient experience with the software to complete his task. They decided not to continue the cooperation. However – Martin wanted to be paid for the 2.5 months of work that he did invest in the project. Eva – without ever discussing it with Martin before, was left with unfinished app that needed lot more work, no agreement on how much to pay Martin and very unpleasant situation of different assumptions and expectations.
To avoid it - get a practical template for setting the framework for the cofounder trial period:
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