So, you think you have the next million-dollar idea. You’ve thought about it for days. You’ve fleshed it out and think this one has real potential. You’re so passionate about the project that it’s starting to consume your thoughts. The process is electrifying and the startup world has taken ahold of you. BUT, something’s missing. You need a co-founder.
You know you can’t build this thing and get it to market by yourself. You don’t know anyone with the skill set you need because, let’s face it, your network is full of people in your field. You’ve started to wonder if it’s possible to find a co-founder who will be as excited and passionate about this idea as you are.
The good news is you’re not alone. Many startup founders struggle with this issue. In this article, we’re bringing you tips for increasing your odds of finding that perfect match.
Tip 1: Tell everyone your idea.
The common myth in entrepreneurship is that we need to keep our idea a secret until we’re ready to launch. We have to prevent it from being stolen, right? Wrong. How do you intend to find anyone to help you build it unless you tell them what you’re building? Even if the person you’re talking to isn’t interested in helping out, they might know someone who is.
Sam Scofy and Matt Loszak, co-founders of JamCam, can attest to this. The pair met after a contact from India reached out to network with Sam who was living in Quebec City at the time. When Sam mentioned that he wanted to work in the music industry, his contact told him about Loszak’s project in Toronto.
“He showed me the app Matt was working on and I knew I needed to be a part of it,” says Scofy.
This duo found each other despite being located in different provinces, all thanks to the fact that Loszak wasn’t afraid to share his idea.
Tip 2: Use your network and be specific.
Everyone around you should know you’re on the lookout. You don’t have time to waste chatting with the wrong people though, so be specific about what you’re after. Make a list of the top five things your ideal co-founder should bring to your startup. These could be skills, experience, or connections. Keep this list in mind when you chat with potential partners, and share your list with everyone in your network, especially these groups:
Friends and family.
Your friends and family should be those most willing to help spread the word. Take advantage of this but make it easy for them. Send them an email they can forward along to relevant people.
Sharing a short Facebook post describing your opportunity is an easy way to tap your social network. Make sure to list your ‘must-haves’ and encourage your friends to share your post on their walls as well.
High school, college, or university classmates.
This worked for me. My co-founder, Kaylie Greaves, and I met in our undergrad. We were both so passionate about the idea for our platform that we knew we had to work together to make it happen.
Tip 3: Put yourself out there.
The process of finding a co-founder is often serendipitous. To increase your chances of being in the right place at the right time, you need to get out and mingle in your community. Try these:
Meet-ups and networking events
With so many like-minded people in the same space, events are a great way to meet people outside your network. Be strategic with your time though. If you need a tech founder, go to a tech meet-up. If you need someone with industry connections, attend events in your industry.
Your local incubator/accelerator
Applying to a startup incubator or accelerator gets you in the same space with other passionate, like-minded people. If you aren’t far enough along to secure yourself desk space, check out their event calendars and make sure you attend the networking events that happen in their space.
Tip 4: Spread the word
Even if you’re doing all of the above, admittedly your chances of finding the right person are still slim. To extend your reach outside your network, try posting your project on sites like KahootsHQ. We help young entrepreneurs find co-founders and build project teams. The platform lets you search for passionate individuals who have the right skills AND the necessary startup mentality. We know you can’t afford to pay them six figures, at least not right now, and that’s okay. They just want in on the ground floor!
Bonus Tip 5, don’t forget to factor in personality fit when searching for your new business partner. Basically, make sure you like the person! After all, you will likely be spending more time with them than your spouse over the next few years.
With these tips in mind, it’s time to get talking, networking and posting about your next big idea. The more you increase your presence, the greater your chances of meeting your perfect co-founder.