How Do You Handle Big Differences Between You And Your Cofounder?

“I know more about building a company than you do,” one my co-founders said to me over the phone.

Those were the last words “John” ever said to me as he quit the company.

John was a brilliant technologist. His fellow engineers called him a “guru”. There was no question that it was a coup having him as part of the team.

The idea for the company was mine. I explained what I wanted to do to John when I was recruiting him. John was excited by my vision for the company, and he agreed to join as a co-founder.

Everything was fine when we started working together. However, about two months into the company, the problems started.

John and I had two fundamental differences about the direction the company should go in:

A. John felt the company’s focus should be more narrow, and I felt the company’s focus should be broad.

B. John felt we should raise less money, and I felt we should raise more money.

Then John quit the company, stole my IP and left me for dead. Then he stared a competing company.

It’s difficult to make things work if co-founders don’t share the same vision.

Here’s the thing. You are going to be working together for the next 7 to 10 years.

There are going to be many times when the company’s survival hangs in the balance based on one or two things. You need co-founders that are just as fanatical as you if you are going to survive.

Ask yourself this question: How can your co-founder be as fanatical as you are about the company if you don’t share the same vision?

You and your business partner are likely going to have to part company.

You should have an honest and open conversation with your co-founder. Acknowledge that your visions for the company aren’t the same.

Then you should work out an amiable separation agreement. One of you is likely going to have to leave the company if the company is going to survive.

For more, read: The Simple Strategy For Reducing Your Founder Problems.

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