Waiting breathlessly for a co-founder? Just start.

Off the top of my head, I could name 10 different people who cannot get their startup off the ground because of the lack of a co-founder.

During the open forum of the last JUAN GREAT MEET in Briggy, there was a flurry of co-founder related questions:

How do you find the right co-founder? Where do you find the right co-founder? Is it right to co-found companies with friends?

What struck me during the proceedings was when someone added to the discussion (I think it was Joey Gurango): okay, so why would you need a co-founder in the first place? 

You know, it’s very clear for me why a co-founder is better than going at it alone: you want have someone to be with in the trenches, someone to discuss things with, someone who will be strong in the areas you are weak in. Because of these very powerful reasons, it’s quite understandable to expect someone to wait for the “right one.”

But only up to a certain point.

If you’ve already spent a considerable amount of time exhausting your network, getting to know even more people, looking under every rock you see, and you just keep hitting a brick wall, then it might be time to throw in the towel and get some work done. At some point, the waiting just becomes counter-productive, so just try to start.

Yep, alone.

For some, this might be a scary thought, as the assumption all along was to form a team.  But perhaps this has become some sort of a crutch, and excuse for you to put off doing what needs to be done.

It doesn’t need to be complicated. Knowing you WILL go at it alone, ask yourself, okay, what’s that next thing that my startup needs to progress?

Are you a someone with an idea who’s been searching for a technical partner for a year already? Then the next crucial “step” (the one you’ve told yourself you can’t do without a technical partner) is to build a prototype, right?

Just start. Create detailed specs – how does your app work? Ask around and canvass for freelance programmers who might do it for a fee. Try to look for and recruit the best one. Begin raising the money that might be required.

Perhaps you don’t need a technical solution just yet. Perhaps you can test the market out by creating a powerpoint mock-up and just doing a “demo” of your product to dozens of potential customers. The info you’ll get is guaranteed to be uber-useful.

I know it might sound intimidating because that “next step” would typically be the precise reason why you’re looking for a partner – the skills required for this next step might not be within your comfort level. But this is what makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur – she learns, adapts, and just makes things happen.

So stop waiting and start doing. The ironic thing is, once you just go ahead and decide to start, you’re sure to encounter and attract even more people who are interested in what you are doing. Sometimes, the best time to find a partner is when you’re not looking.

Peter Cauton

Entrepreneur, writer, speaker, startup advocate, HR guy. Husband, father of 6, teacher, unabashed follower of Christ.

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