Finding The Perfect Co-Founder: Qualities That Matter

Daria, a COREageous entrepreneur from Florida writes: I’m looking for a co-founder for my startup. I’ve met several people who are good candidates, but I think I need a checklist of sorts instead of just relying on my gut. I’ve been told that having the right co-founder can make all the difference between success and failure.

You are right on, Daria, about the importance of finding the right co-founder!  Here are the most important traits to look for when interviewing co-founders:

One of the most crucial aspects of a successful co-founder relationship is complementary skills. While it’s great to have someone who shares your passion and vision, it’s equally important that they bring a different skill set to the table. If you’re the creative visionary, look for someone who excels in operations or finance. This synergy will ensure that you cover all bases and can tackle challenges from multiple angles, while also balancing the give and take of the relationship.

What skills or areas of expertise are weakest for you? What kind of tasks do you disdain and cannot outsource? Find these as strengths in your co-founder.

While complementary skills are essential, shared values and vision are equally important. Your co-founder should be aligned with your long-term goals for the company and share your values and principles.

Can you clearly articulate your vision for a candidate?  What are your values and principles?

There will be setbacks, failures, and moments of doubt along the way. That’s why resilience and grit are invaluable qualities in a co-founder.

Can your candidate give examples of how they made tough decisions, bounced back from failure and persevered through tough times?  

Clear and open communication is the cornerstone of any successful partnership, and the co-founder relationship is no exception. Look for someone who can communicate effectively, listen mindfully* and provide constructive feedback.

When speaking with them, do you feel heard and understood? Have you observed their communication skills in other social situations? What are they like under stress? 

While past success is not a guarantee of future success, it can be an indicator of someone’s ability to deliver results. Look for a co-founder who has a track record of achievement in their field, whether it’s launching successful startups, leading teams, or driving growth in a corporate setting.

What specific kind of expertise are you looking for in a co-founder?   

Adaptability and flexibility are essential qualities in a co-founder. You need someone who can pivot when necessary, embrace change, and thrive in uncertain environments. The ability to quickly adjust course and execute based on feedback and solid evidence is crucial for staying ahead of the curve.

Again, ask for examples of their ability to pivot and produce in less than ideal conditions.  

Last, but certainly not least, trust is the foundation of any successful partnership. You need to have complete trust in your co-founder’s integrity, judgment, and commitment to the venture.

Because trust is something that takes time to build, is there any evidence from shared contacts about your candidate’s trustworthiness?

For further reading on the topic of co-founder relationships, I highly recommend checking out this insightful article on Forbes: Five Ways To Find The Right Co-Founder (forbes.com)

With the right co-founder by your side, you’ll have a powerful ally as you embark on the exhilarating journey of entrepreneurship. So, take your time, choose wisely, and together, you can turn your startup dreams into reality.

*Learn the characteristics of what it means to be a Mindful Listener. Get my book/Audiobook: “The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of Distraction.” Amazon.com : the zen of listening, rebecca shafir

 

How and Why to Think Backwards to Achieve a Long Term Goal

Thinking backwards, also known as “backward induction” is a problem-solving technique commonly used in game theory and decision analysis. It involves starting with the desired outcome and working backward to determine the optimal sequence of actions or decisions to achieve that outcome. As a COREageous entrepreneur, you may find how thinking backwards helps move planning forward! Here are some benefits of thinking backwards compared to traditional problem-solving methods:

Thinking backwards from the desired outcome:

  • begins with a clear understanding of the desired outcome or goal. What is your vision? Like a movie in your head, how does your goal play out when it is achieved?
  • encourages systematic planning by breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable steps. By focusing on the end result first, you can more effectively identify and walk back the steps needed to reach that goal. This approach helps you visualize the sequence of actions going backwards from the end to the start.
  • helps you identify the most rational or optimal decisions at each step of the problem-solving process. By considering the potential consequences of different choices and working backward from the desired outcome, you can make more informed decisions.
  • can lead to more efficient problem-solving by eliminating unnecessary steps or considerations. By focusing on the most critical aspects of a problem, individuals can save time and resources.
  • backward induction allows for flexibility in adapting to changing circumstances. You can adjust your plan as new information becomes available or as the situation evolves.

Here’s how it might look to achieve a specific business goal:

End Goal: Ensure the long-term success and growth of the startup.

Step 1: Assess the current market landscape, including customer needs, competitor offerings, and industry trends.

Step 2: Identify any signs that the current product or service offering is not meeting market demand or achieving the desired traction.

Step 3: Evaluate potential alternative directions or pivots for the company’s product or service, such as targeting a different customer segment, adjusting the pricing strategy, or introducing new features.

Step 4: Analyze the potential impact of each pivot option on the company’s resources, team, timeline, and overall vision.

Step 5: Determine the most viable pivot option based on the analysis and the potential to achieve the end goal of long-term success and growth.

Step 6: Develop a strategic plan and roadmap for implementing the chosen pivot, including timelines, resource allocation, and key milestones.

Step 7: Communicate the decision and plan to stakeholders, including employees, investors, and customers, to ensure alignment and support.

Step 8: Execute the pivot plan effectively, monitoring progress closely and making adjustments as needed to maximize success.

Overall, thinking backwards instead of making it up as you go along offers a systematic and strategic approach to problem-solving that can help you achieve your desired outcome more effectively and efficiently compared to traditional methods.

Enjoy more on this topic:

The Backward Law: How Thinking In Reverse Can Improve Your Life (theknowledge.io)

Winning by Thinking Backwards (colemaninsights.com)

In CoreCoaching we go from a vision of your venture and work it backwards, step by step. Interested in giving it a try? Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com. Visit MindfulCommunication.com

Seniors: Plan Carefully to Start Up

There is an increasing trend of individuals over 50 opting for entrepreneurship as a career shift rather than traditional retirement.

Older individuals are well suited for entrepreneurship due to their extensive experience, problem-solving skills, and business networks. They are in better health than previous generations, and therefore, starting and sustaining a business is more realistic than ever before. However, there are cautions for senior entrepreneurs.

Financing: As securing financing for startups can be challenging due to age biases among potential funders, personal savings remain the primary source of startup capital for older entrepreneurs.  Alternative financing options such as bank loans are limited due to the high credit risk associated with new ventures lacking a track record.

Senior entrepreneurs need to be prepared for a lengthy period before their business generates sustainable income. Advisors suggest that you save enough money to cover 12 months of both living and business expenses. Therefore, if you are still employed, put aside part of your nest egg for a future venture opportunity.

Shark Advice: Mark Cuban’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs bodes well for seniors as well. In an article 7 Reasons Not to Quit Your Job to Start a Business | LinkedIn Cuban advises wantrepreneurs to start a business only if “your heart is in it” and to “know your s—- better than anyone else in the room!”

Next steps: In the meanwhile, refresh old connections and build new relationships to create partnerships as a talented team will make your venture more attractive to financiers. Furthermore, invest in education and skill development through programs like the Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac and AARP’s Work for Yourself@50+.Go to: CoreFour Coaching & Training for Entrepreneurs | Mindful Communication

With those suggestions in place older individuals considering entrepreneurship can leverage their experience and invest in personal development to increase their chances of success in starting a new business venture.

Need help getting organized and following through with a business idea? Let’s start off with a plan. Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com. Visit MindfulCommunication.com

How and Why to Add Humor to Your Day

Consider adding a daily dose of belly laughter to your routine! Problems, frustrations and worries take their toll on our health. Meditation, exercise, journaling etc. are all very helpful, but my observations suggest that a good belly laugh should be in the mix.

In the last few weeks, I experimented with adding a few minutes of a belly laugh segment (my choices include Monty Python and old skits from SNL from YouTube) and noted its effect on my energy, my outlook and, most importantly, the creativity and efficiency of my coaching sessions. I can say with confidence that all improved as a function of my belly laugh routine.

Steve Wilson, author of the book “Good Hearted Living,” states that heavy attitudes can get in the way of the “lightness” in our lives, so we don’t laugh as much as we need to. You certainly could use a daily dose(s) of laughter if you find yourself stuck in any one or several of these attitudes:

  • Judgmentalism.
  • Rigidity.
  • Being unappreciative.
  • Mean-spiritedness.
  • Anger.
  • Racing and hurrying.
  • Workaholism.

Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, stress, and negative emotions in a more beneficial way than other mere distractions.

On a physical level a good bout of laughter exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs, and even works out tension in the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward.

It provides a good workout for the heart.

Furthermore, a good belly laugh gives our respiratory system a massive workout, strengthening the lungs and furthering their health.

And there’s more. Did you know that laughter can be contagious? It’s not only good for you but hearing or watching someone else splitting their sides laughing can lift your mood. I remember, years ago, after a long and tiring day calling my mother and hearing my Dad in the background laughing uproariously at a Marx Brothers movie. Even over the phone and at a distance, his laughter was infectious – it refreshed my day!

Let’s experiment right now! Watch this short skit from an old Carol Burnett show. I hope our humor aligns somewhat so you can get a feel for the effects of what I’ve been talking about! Otherwise choose another YouTube video and see how the rest of your day goes. Then, share the clip with someone who could use a good laugh.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h66p3gW82bM

Consider working in a daily dose of laughter into your day and see what happens!

Stay COREageous!

Need a healthy routine for being your best self? Contact me at Rebecca@ MindfulCommunication.com. Visit MindfulCommunication.com.

How to Master Email Efficiency

In coaching founders, developing and sticking to an efficient email management process continues to be one of the most frequent requests. As a founder or solopreneur, it is essential that you stick to an efficient system for managing emails. Timely communication is essential. Constantly checking your emails detracts from the more important deep work tasks.

Whether you’re drowning in a sea of unread messages or simply aiming to streamline your communication, here are some tried-and-true tips to help you manage email effectively.

Reduce the number of email boxes: Do you really need five email accounts? Consolidate or eliminate as many as possible.

Prioritize Your Inbox: Start by sorting your emails based on urgency and importance. Focus on tackling high-priority emails first, ensuring that critical messages are addressed promptly.

Utilize Email Filters and Folders: Organize your inbox by creating filters and folders to automatically categorize incoming emails. This helps reduce clutter and allows you to concentrate on specific topics or projects at a time.

Set Specific Email Time Blocks: Instead of constantly checking your inbox throughout the day, allocate dedicated only 2-3 time blocks for email management. This prevents constant interruptions, allowing you to concentrate on other tasks without being overwhelmed by a flood of messages.

Unsubscribe and Declutter: Weed out unnecessary emails by unsubscribing from newsletters and promotional emails that no longer serve your interests. Decluttering your inbox from irrelevant content can significantly reduce the time spent sifting through messages.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts: Familiarize yourself with keyboard shortcuts for your email platform. These shortcuts can help you navigate through emails swiftly, improving your overall efficiency. See keyboard shortcuts for email

Batch Process Emails: Group similar tasks together and batch process emails to enhance productivity. Respond to similar queries in one go, reducing the mental load associated with context-switching between diverse topics.

By implementing these strategies, you can regain control of your inbox, boost productivity, and ensure that your email communication aligns seamlessly with your daily workflow. Remember, the key lies in finding a personalized approach that suits your work style and enables you to navigate the digital realm with ease.

What else takes up valuable time and energy in your workday? Contact me at Rebecca@MIndfulCommunication.com. Visit MindfulCommunication.com

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