Cofounding the Right Way: A Practical Guide to Successful Business Partnerships

Panoma Press, 24.01.2018 - 248 Seiten
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Jobs & Wozniak, Page & Brin, Ben & Jerry... any list of successful companies seems awash with cofounders who are a match made in business heaven. The benefits are obvious: by combining resources, knowledge, expertise and motivation, cofounders can often build something far more successful together compared to going solo. And yet... two-thirds of startups fail because of disagreements between founders. Why? Because cofounding isn't as simple as drawing up an agreement and shaking hands on it. In fact, there are seven steps required to build cofounding teams that win and last. Cofounding The Right Way will take you through these steps, one simple step at a time, from finding the right cofounders all the way through to structuring your team, splitting the equity, making sure everyone stays motivated and documenting it in your cofounding agreement. Is a partnership even right for you in the first place? That's Step No. 1! Get your cofounding team right, and you'll be in the best possible position to handle any challenge that's thrown in your direction. Get it wrong and not even the best business idea will be able to survive. Foreword by Mike Moyer, author of Slicing Pie.

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ForewordWhatever you call them - cofounders, partners, employees or anything else - your startup team is simply a group of people trying to figure out if they can turn an idea and a vision into a real, actual business that serves customers and provides reliable cash flow. Unfortunately, people aren't perfect. As a species, we're pretty darn good at a lot of things, but we lack one essential entrepreneurial skill that would ensure our success: we can't predict the future. If we could, things would go a heck of a lot smoother.Even the cleverest business idea and the clearest vision can't change the fact that the path to success, if it exists at all, is utterly unknowable. Sure, we can plan and project and promise and pretend we know what's going to happen, but even the brightest among us is going to be wrong. The only thing that never changes about a startup company is the fact that it's always changing.When the changes come, relationships will be tested. Some people will rise to the challenge and move boldly forward, others will follow willingly and still others will cringe and recoil. Good feelings ebb and flow. Some people treat challenges as opportunities, some treat them as defeat. Even those with the best intentions can nd themselves at odds with one another.Cofounder conflicts are extremely common in startups and many are insurmountable ultimately leading to the demise of the company. Even the companies that do survive can be hindered by irreconcilable differences among founding teams. If your company is going to fail, it's better if it fails because your original idea or vision was awed. If it fails because of founder conflicts you will be forever haunted by that gnawing feeling that it would have worked 'if only...'What's interesting, however, is how easily conflicts can be resolved or avoided altogether. Choosing the right team and setting up systems that accommodate changes can allow founders to navigate start-up turmoil remarkably well. While there may be many reasons why your startup could fail, there frankly aren't that many reasons why your relationships will fail, and this book will help you mitigate problems as they inevitably arise.In Chapter 6, Jana introduces Slicing Pie, an equity model I invented to help teams create a fair equity split in the face of extreme uncertainty. Over the years I've heard countless stories of not only how the model allowed the team to easily avoid equity split conflicts, but also how paralysing the process was before they found the model. Many made choices about equity splits that seemed logical at the time but ultimately destroyed their team and the company. The right equity model is one of those things that will not enable success, but the wrong equity split can easily lead to failure. The knowledge of Slicing Pie enables teams to focus on the factors that lead to success.Throughout this book are concepts and ideas that can arm you with the knowledge you need to avoid common mistakes that well- meaning founders make all the time. Start-up teams can do amazing things with scarce resources. By leveraging the concepts in this book, you can set them up for success rather than facilitating their failure.Jana and I have a common understanding: good teams can destroy good businesses because good people can make bad decisions. Many bad decisions can be avoided with the right knowledge. Your ideas and visions can put your people on the path to success, this book will help you keep them on it!Mike MoyerInventor of Slicing Pie

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