.. that is the question. Whether it is better go fast and go solo, or go far and go together.
“If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.” African Proverb.
A significant consideration starting out is whether to go fast and go alone or go far and go together. This is one decision that is best made after some serious reflection and soul searching by all the prospective co-founders.
Going Together – Risks and Rewards
The big risk in going together is that at least 50% (if not a higher percentage) of small businesses I know have had partnerships that have gone south. A business breakup is a lot like divorce: there’s no love and more money, so parting ways is a HUGE challenge. Breaking up is extremely hard to do, not to mention expensive and extraordinarily time consuming. Begin with the end in mind and make sure you have good legal framework in place for settling disputes and a break up should it arise.
One of my favorite events from our old location was the five founders of Lumenera sharing their lessons learned. Here is the blog post summary from the event: The Buddy System – Lumenera Founders.
If you are looking for some third party advice here are a couple of pro/con bits of advice to consider:
Going Solo – Pluses and Minuses
If going together seems like too much of a hassle, consider going alone. For the control freaks out there bent on world domination, going solo probably seems like a no brainer (said in a Dr. Evil(ish) voice … mwhahaha). Complete control and full decision making authority seem like the BIG pluses of leading an early stage business as solo founder.
On the other hand, leading from the fortress of solitude can have its minuses too; like no one to bounce ideas off when you have a tough decision to make. Having complete autonomy when making decisions seems like a wonderful thing until you have to do it all the time. Advisors and mentors are helpful, but it is not nearly the same as having someone in the trenches with you on a daily basis. Solitude is the big minus as a solo founder.
There is no silver bullet. Carefully consider your options, do your research, cofound slow and fire fast.