Should You Go Into Business With a Co-founder?

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Two people rowing in a competition

Getting a business off the ground is no easy task. You may have had your dynamite idea and constructed a watertight business plan, but now it’s time for the hard work to begin. Whether raising capital, building a team or getting clients through the door, there is a lot of responsibility now resting on your shoulders. At this point, you may start to wonder if you can do this alone.

After all, two brains are better than one. With a co-founder on board, you can share the workload and mitigate some risks. What’s more, your company will look more favorable to prospective investors since many venture capitalist firms state outright that they are unlikely to consider backing solo entrepreneurs.

On the other hand, this is your baby. It’s your million-dollar idea, so who’s better placed to execute it than you? Do you really want to bring someone in who might try and steer the business in the wrong direction? History shows us that 65% of startups fail because of co-founder conflict, so why run the risk of creating unnecessary tension and risk losing it all?

What We Did

Needless to say, deciding whether to go into business alone or to team up is a minefield to navigate. The OnDeck team drew from the advice and inspiration of established business leaders to weigh up the pros and cons, map the ups and downs and calculate the risks and rewards each pathway has to offer. We have presented them in the infographic below so you can figure out if you should go into business with a co-founder.

The Co-founder Conundrum: How to Decide Which Model is Best for Your Business

Deciding whether or not you go into business with a co-founder is no easy feat. In fact, it may just be the hardest business decision you face, as it requires personal reflection on where you excel and where you fall short as an entrepreneur.

There’s a wealth of advice online about whether you should team up or go solo. But digesting it all can be overwhelming, to say the least. Use our one-stop infographic to check the facts, hear the pros and cons, and decide for yourself what’s best for you and your business.

Should You Go Into Business With A Co-Founder Infographic

Click here to see the image in full size

Lone Wolf Leader vs. Tycoon Teams

As this decision can prove to be the make-or-break difference for many startups, remember to take your time, draw from your own experience and consider the facts, figures and invaluable advice from other successful business leaders.

For the lone wolves amongst us, don’t be dissuaded by stats that predict failure. If 80% of billion-dollar companies were started by co-founder teams, make sure you’re part of the remaining 20%. Create a watertight business plan and believe in it; investors will rally to those who are personally invested in their strategy. Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself. By hiring a solid team, you can strengthen your skillset without relinquishing control.

If you’ve decided to bring in a co-founder, remember to look in the mirror and identify where you need help. Start the process by writing a job description of the ideal person who can plug those gaps. Resist choosing your best friend or partner out of sentimentality but branch out in order to find the best candidates. Don’t forget to cross the t’s and dot the i’s early in your relationship to avoid any nasty surprises further down the road.

Methodology & Sources

On a mission to help business owners and solopreneurs discover if they would benefit from having a co-founder, we delved into the wide-ranging advantages and disadvantages of going it alone or teaming up might bring.

By gathering our information from seasoned entrepreneurs, business owners and academics that have shared their lived experiences and findings, we could ensure that we only included information from reputable sources based in the U.S. wherever possible and published no later than 2019 to keep our advice as relevant as possible.

With a wealth of quotes, advice and statistics in hand, we created a series of infographics and flowcharts where business owners can draw valuable insights and discover which pathway would be most beneficial to their business.

The research was gathered in June 20222.

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Ghosh, S. (2021). Should You Add a Co-Founder.

Heddleston, R. (2022). Start Up Solo, or Bring on a Co-Founder? 4 Facts to Consider.

Brocoders. (2017). Do You Really Need a Co-Founder?

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