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Advantages and disadvantages of having a co-founder for your startup

Posted by Kanika Sinha

February 6, 2017

Launching a startup is hard, and having the wrong co-founder at your side can compound your problems. Yet, launching with an A+ co-founder can help to excel your growth.

As with many things, there are usually two sides. Let's look at the advantages and the disadvantages of having a co-founder for your startup.

Let’s start with the positives.

Two skill sets are better than one

One of the biggest advantages to having a co-founder is that you are both bringing specific skill sets to the table.

Having a partner by your side means you’ve got double the skills. It also means everything doesn’t have to rest solely on your shoulders.

When you have a co-founder, you can concentrate on the projects you enjoy.

Strengths are highlighted

A co-founder is a partner with strengths that can offset your weaknesses and vice versa.

For example, if your first love is marketing, you can hone in on this part of your startup, while perhaps your co-founder is good at accounting and can focus on the finances.

This leads to a happier work environment and a great way to manage time and work flow.

Breaks are easier to come by

Let’s say you’ve been putting in 60-hour work weeks all month trying to get a marketing campaign off the ground, and now you need a break.

If you have a co-founder, you can take a real break knowing that someone is running the show.

Having a good partnership means you each get some downtime when you need it.

Leadership is more effective

Startups with more than one founder can offer a diverse leadership perspective.

For example, if one founder is a woman and the other is a man, each person comes with their own background and experiences. Or, perhaps one partner is around 30, while the other partner is in his 50s – again these differences can benefit your startup in the long run.

Two perspectives on leadership can help you manage your staff in a more well-rounded way. You can bounce ideas off each other and make sure you’ve covered all your bases.

Now, let’s look at the disadvantages of having a co-founder for your startup.

Talk to us about how our back-office services can help alleviate the stress put on the C-suite team of your startup.

Ethics are compromised

What if your co-founder has a different work ethic? What if your partner feels differently about standards of work and excellence?

If you and your co-founder have different ethics and standards, you are going to have major problems.

Not only will there be tension between the two of you, but it will trickle down to your staff, affecting the success of your startup.

Make sure you know where any potential co-founder stands.

Work inequities arise

Another disadvantage and potential for conflict arises when one co-founder feels like he works harder than the other.

This is a problem that can sink the ship. To avoid it, be sure and talk through some scenarios before you solidify your partnership.

In addition, inequities arise when you haven’t spelled out who gets to decide what. Make sure your responsibilities are very clear from the onset.

Splitting things 50/50 can be hard, but it is worth your while to work through any potential conflicts from the beginning so hard feelings don’t fester.

Risky business abounds

If one co-founder is a risk-taker and the other one isn’t, this can also be a disadvantage.

Like most conflicts, this one can be prevented with some discussions early on. Make sure you know how risk-prone or risk-averse your co-founder is.

You don’t want to have this problem in the middle of launching your startup.

Final thoughts

Are you ready to start your own company? Have you thought about whether or not you want to bring in a co-founder?

One of the reasons startups fail is due to the management team. In fact, one source says 62% of startups fail due to co-founder conflicts.

Because we don’t want you to fail, we hope our guide offers you some insight into what to look for when considering a co-founder for your startup.

Want more?

Escalon has helped thousands of startups and midsized businesses lower their costs and bring in lasting value with our solutions for accounting, HR, payroll, insurance and recruiting — and we can help yours too. Talk to an expert today.

Image: Gili Benita


Kanika Sinha
Kanika Sinha

Kanika is an enthusiastic content writer who craves to push the boundaries and explore uncharted territories. With her exceptional writing skills and in-depth knowledge of business-to-business dynamics, she creates compelling narratives that help businesses achieve tangible ROI. When not hunched over the keyboard, you can find her sweating it out in the gym, or indulging in a marathon of adorable movies with her young son.

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