Starting a business is about the hardest thing you can do. You’re constantly fighting to stay alive, to grow, your fear of failure and the never-ending onslaught of competition with more money and often a better product or service.
You’ve got staff? You’re still alone
You may feel surrounded, but frankly your staff are there for the wage. There are ways to incentifise staff with equity which bring the relationship closer, but the reality is they’re not entrepreneurs. They’re not you. They have a notice period and if the right offer comes along, they’ll take it. When sh*t hits the fan, you’ll find out that staff are not co-founders.
Your about to fight daily battles
Every day something will go wrong. A member of staff will leave, an investor will apply pressure, a marketing campaign will return nothing, a bad hire, the feature you invested in just won’t work, a competitor launches your product … just better.
When those battles come up you’re not fighting the issue, you’re fighting motivation. You’re gambling your judgement is right without having someone to bounce the solution off of at 2am, you’re fighting your wife or girlfriend who wants you at home on the sofa.
The first battle is easy, but the thirty-first gets grating. The ninety-ninth will test the strongest souls.
You’ll convince yourself that you’re as fired up now as you always were, but it’s not true, it’s getting harder. Every battle won leaves a scar.
Why you need a co-founder
They share the scars
The most obvious reason is they’ll share the scars. If your breaking point is one hundred, you now have a partner that will go 50:50 with you meaning your business can have two hundred crisis before you need to take a break.
Two heads are better than one
And the old saying is never more true than when starting a business. Passion clouds judgement. Excitement clouds judgement. Having a co-founder helps keep your feet on the ground.
You’ll lose your drive at some point … and you might cry
Yep, you will. You’ll be worn down and even if things are looking up you’ll just be tired. At this point a co-founder is essential. They’ll remind you of why you’re putting so much energy and emotion in. They’ll buy you chicken wings and shooters, force you to take a few days off.
They’ll whiteboard out the future, re-envision the future and within a week you’ll be back fighting harder than ever.
Without someone as emotionally vested as you, who’s going to do this?
A lack of energy will lead to failure
Ultimately, regardless of the strength of your product or service, a lack of passion, energy and drive will cause you to fail. It’s much easier to keep your mojo with a partner.