How Many Founders Is Right For A Startup?

The question prospective entrepreneurs seem to ask when venturing out is just how many people is right to be co-founders. A friend recently told me of a group of people claiming to start a company. I completely disagree that ‘groups’ of people should be co-founders because this can lead to conflict as we as humans are very different in our configuration. It will be difficult to align more than 3 people on a startup with the same vision. So just how many is right? 2; and that is it.

I came across this post on Huffington Post and it shared my thoughts in a more elaborate way. I will do a quick summary of the post below but I would recommend you see the full post. Dr. Douglas Merill, founder of ZestCash recommends that the best way to work with cofounders are;

Diversity– It pays that you and your co-founder are diverse but not too much. Diversity in a team means both persons though having the same vision can however see situations from different angles. So tackling a challenge becomes less tasking. It’s also good that there is that one-person beside you who is not scared to challenge your ideas because while every other person is either not telling you the truth about your ideas or just playing ignorant, your co-founder is ready to question your ideas to bring out the best in you and your thoughts.

Share the same core values – Personal values might seem unimportant to business, but, unsurprisingly, you don’t stop being people when you become employees or entrepreneurs. How does he/she reacts when they watch the news, what makes his/her blood to boil? When you walk past a homeless person, what are the reactions of your co-founder? How do you guys view religion? Do you share the same relationships values as in wife, girlfriends, family etc?, what’s his/her perception of money? You might think some of this is personal but I tell you, few years down the line, some of this issues might be the reason you split up and the business don’t work out. Start a company with someone you are connected to, not just anyone.

Find the right balance on working styles – It is advisable to straighten issues such as office start time, work dress codes for you and your employees, working from home, office layout, office parking space and so on. It is OK to disagree with some of this points as long as you and your co-founder have a compromise on how you can meet your customer and employees satisfaction without upsetting each other.

Be transparent about your relationship with your co-founder – Let your employees, clients, and investors see through the relationship you share with your co-founder. Don’t unnecessarily hide conflicts from the people you work with.

Find the tie breaker – No matter how much you share values, balance working styles, and be transparent, there will always be times when you two cannot agree on a particular decision. This is where the tie breaker comes in. Find a wise and trusted adviser you both respect, it will go a long way in helping smooth out the bumps along the way.


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