We often find ourselves looking for “The One”. Let me guess what’s the first thing that comes to your mind – a loving relationship with your significant other? Well, this soul searching doesn’t end here; especially if you’re embarking on your social entrepreneurship journey. It also applies to finding the perfect co-founder, the perfect “founding other”.
In the Finding Impact Podcast Episode #27 we had David Auerbach on the show. David is co-founder of Sanergy – a social enterprise making hygienic sanitation affordable and accessible in Africa’s informal settlements. In the candid conversation, we talk about how to find the right co-founder and how to maintain a good relationship, how fortuitous it can be when you meet like-minded individuals, the importance of investing in good manpower and the effectiveness and efficiency in a team. In this blogpost, you’ll find the answers to many of your founder-related questions in a nutshell.
For new and existing founders alike, David gave the following suggestions:
- Keeping a solid union with the co-workers is necessary along with meeting and communicating regularly with one another. It is said that the relationship between you and your investors is like a marriage, but this is even more true for a co-founding team.
- Get comfortable with how decisions are made as a team. Ask yourself – are you happy with the process when you make tough decisions? The decisions you make today, define your tomorrow – so this is definitely a very significant aspect because a lot of times there is resentment around how decisions are made.
- As the work gets more sophisticated, it becomes relevant to raise money and hire the right people who specialise in particular roles.
- A lot of times, co-founders get caught up in equity decisions really early on. It’s important to keep it fair and transparent – and remember there is no ideal way of doing it.
- He also suggested a few tactics to maintain a healthy relationship, such as, keeping an open mind and listening to different views and opinions. Understanding how outsiders think of the business is a good way to grasp a third person’s perspective. And lastly of course, it is so very important to have fun together besides work, this could be going for outdoor activities, enjoying meals outside, family get togethers, and more.
- Early on in the founder’s journey, you’ll no doubt do a bit of everything. But as the needs of the business expands and grows, it becomes more and more important for founders to move into specialised roles, and hire people with specialist skills.
- Having a co-founding team is like having a relationship. There will be ups and downs, there would be misunderstandings and miscommunications, but if you’re willing to focus on the bigger picture and if you really want to solve the issues, then congratulations you have found “the one”!
And like any marriage, it’s important to have a healthy relationship with everyone else in the house i.e. the rest of the team!
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(Written by: Akanksha Khurana, Photo credit: Holding Hands, Yoel Ben-Avraham, CC BY-ND 2.0)
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