Get aligned

Co-founders need to be aligned. Unified. Clear on objectives. To have a voice.

It’s hard enough to run through the gauntlet of a startup but to do it the entire way with co-founders adds so much more complexity. Solo entrepreneurs make the decisions. With co-founders there needs to be consensus and then alignment. Sometimes that means unanimous, other times it means the majority and this is where things get weird.

If it takes 5-7 years to turn a startup into a “sustainable” business, co-founders are committing to a long term, tempestuous, high-stress relationship from the start. To make that work is no different than making any great relationship work — communication, transparency and targets.

Each co-founder needs to be open, honest and clear about their intent, their goals and their vision for their version of the company. Things change, people change, life happens and the person that entered the arena on day 1 is different than on day 1800. Startups grind you down and that has an impact.

The most important part of a partnership of founders is to make sure everyone is still aligned and checked in. So many co-founders think they are saying the same things or going with the flow only to wake up one day and be miles apart.

Talk. Often. Be crystal clear about the outcome you seek. Push the conversation and make sure everyone has a voice.