Think about your favorite dream team. It may be the design duo Serena and Lilly, theSkimm’s Carly and Danielle, or the Steves – Jobs and Wozniak. Being the perfect pair seems easy but finding and then working well with your co-founder takes intentionality and practice.
The dream team isn’t assembled overnight but there are ways to make it a little easier… cue Julia McNamara. She’s the brain behind CoFounderworx – dedicated to helping you assess, select and create optimal partnerships. She shared her best advice and tools with us, including her new book The Optimal Cofounder Interview Guide: Find Your Fit.
What inspired you to start CoFounderworx?
In my work with a global accelerator, we found within three years of starting a business 67% of entrepreneurs were reporting a failure rate due to “cofounder conflict”. This percentage is large but there wasn’t a solution that existed.
Today, we are the only science-based leadership assessment designed for cofounder compatibility, success and failure. Using their outcomes, companies and investors can put strategies in place before conflict and inefficiency arise.
How can your new book help entrepreneurs make decisions about cofounders?
The Guide outlines what qualities to look for in a founding team, besides skill sets. A Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Technology Officer may seem well-suited at first, but if they are each overly domineering, their partnership probably won’t last. In the Guide, you can find the actual language to use and important questions to ask when screening a potential partner or hiring a key member of your team.
What is the #1 quality entrepreneurs seek in their cofounders?
Often co-founders, in particular, serial entrepreneurs look for “integrity” in their founding partners. But integrity doesn’t just mean how honest someone is. Our research shows that co-founders have to align on their definition of integrity.. how fast can we go? when can we cut corners? One of the most important takeaways of our research is that co-founders must follow the same moral compass to be successful.
Best advice for women entrepreneurs?
Choosing your business partner is the most important business decision you will make. Don’t rush in. Be selective. Take your time. Work together on a milestone basis before committing to co-founding a company together.
No matter how much people may trust each other or how good their intentions are, when money and values come into play, co-founders often discover things about each other that they didn’t know or suspect before their partnership.
Choosing your business partner is the most important business decision you will make.
What does #EmbraceAmbition mean to you?
It means that as a woman, my ideas matter. A lot. I won’t be afraid to share them and to support the ideas of other women.
Interested in learning more about CoFounderworx? Visit their website to take the co-founder assessment and access more tools to help you create a dream team.