Ten reasons why having a cofounder is better than going it alone

Starting your own business is a huge step. It's usually a decision that comes with outsized rewards but also brings pressure, risk, and responsibilities that do not come with even the best-paid jobs. For this reason, it makes good sense to give yourself the best chance of success and to also make the process as enjoyable as possible. The good news is that success and enjoyment are both made more likely by having a cofounder or cofounders to help you build your business.

While there will always be lone wolf founders who prefer to fly solo, and trouble is in store if you pick the wrong cofounder, we firmly believe that having a cofounder or cofounders at your side is best for most founders. Here are ten reasons why.

1. You will make better decisions

Having someone to talk through your important decisions, whether they are of a day to day operational nature or something more strategic, means you are much more likely to come up with the correct answer. Furthermore, having someone to weigh up the options with will make you more confident that you are making the right choices. Confidence expedites tough calls and removes procrastination and doubt. A cofounder can also back you up if you encounter resistance to your plans.

2. They hold you accountable

It is a well known psychological trick that if you want to achieve something, it helps to make a commitment to someone else or, even better, make a public declaration. Having a cofounder is like that and then some. Not only will you feel a sense of obligation to them, you will also have someone to support you achieve your objectives.

3. Cofounders allow you to build and access a wider network

"It's not what you know, it's who you know" is an old adage, and while not strictly true, being able to construct a deep and wide network around you makes it easier to find and access resources and knowledge. Networking compounds, so having a more extensive base to start with gives you a significant advantage. Your network, plus that of your cofounder(s), is always better than yours alone.

4. You will have someone to share the ride

The fact: 'creating a new company is challenging and can be an emotional rollercoaster' is one of the worst kept secrets in business. When you reach your highs and suffer your lows, having someone to share these moments keeps you strong, grounded, and fulfilled. It is also helpful that you can pick each other up whenever disillusionment or doubt strikes and that you can take it in turns to provide the encouragement and resolve needed to go again.

5. Cofounders provide more personality and richness to your founding team.

We are all different, and having a cofounder brings more variety and depth to your founding team's emotional and behavioural makeup. Your different personalities allow you, as founders, to connect with a broader population of your employees and other stakeholders than you could do alone.

6. They can become the confidant and friend you need to stay on track

Being a founder can be a lonely ride. It is unrealistic to expect your employees, investors, customers, and even your family and friends to properly understand what it is like to be in your shoes. Your cofounder will often be the only one who can appreciate what you are dealing with. Being able to lean on each other and chat things through is a gift for your general happiness and mental wellbeing.

7. You will get more done

While it seems obvious that many hands make light work, having a cofounder is much more than simply adding additional resources to your embryonic business. Founders are motivated to do more, be more productive and be more proactive. It is not just that the long term rewards incentivise founders. They also have more professional pride and identity associated with their work than an employee. Founders give more and take less.

8. They can supplement and complement your skills

So long as you do not fall into the trap of teaming up with a cofounder with an identical skill set, by working with others, your leadership team will have access to a broader set of competencies. Nobody is good at everything, but with a cofounder, you have a much better chance of being good at more things as a team. In addition, having a confounder enables you to focus on what you are best at.

9. Cofounders allow for more slack in the system

As a founder, one of the harshest realities of running a startup is that you always need to be on. There are constant fires to put out, endless decisions to be made, and tasks to tick off. Being the founder means you are always on call to answer the questions and do the work. The problem with always being on is that it quickly takes its toll, with exhaustion and burnout being a real danger for any founder. Fortunately, with a cofounder in place, it is possible to hand over the reins to give you some time out. With a cofounder to share the load, time off, work-free weekends and vacations are much more permissible and attainable. Your brain and body will thank you and reward you for giving it time to recharge.

10. You will benefit from having a broader perspective

We all have a unique worldview and an individual set of cognitive biases that impact our judgements. A cofounder adds more dimensions to your thinking, allowing you to identify opportunities and eliminate risks that would otherwise remain invisible to you. For better or worse, our ideologies, values, principles and perspectives result from our individual experiences and knowledge. Therefore, a cofounder bringing a different point of view is invaluable when navigating the uncertainties of a startup.

If these ten reasons do not convince you that having a cofounder is better than going alone, then you may be one of the few who are better off as the single captain on your ship. For everyone else, the next part of the puzzle is finding the right cofounder(s) who best compliment you and your business. And for that, we have your back.