Building Durable Companies: Creating with a Team of Co-Founders

Building Durable Companies: Creating with a Team of Co-Founders

Africa is bedeviled on all sides with a myriad of problems that need innovative solutions in order for them to be solved. A lot of people have brilliant ideas that can be used to shape the African continent into a thriving business continent. Some are already using these ideas: from Gokada to Paystack, to other start-ups that have specific problems in the sectors they are trying to address, African young people are fixing challenges through the start-ups.

However—and this is a sad development—many founders of great firms, businesses, companies and start-ups are hard pressed to part with equity. They would rather hold on to the entire equity value than split equity with other people, by bringing on these other people to help them run the companies they found, and share equity/profits with them.

Question:

Are you the only one in the business, with the combined functions of CEO, CMO, COO and even typist, alongside web designer rolled into one? Do you have different roles, yet all of them seem to be hung on your shoulders? 

If you are all of the above, then you have too much stress on your hands. No matter what you want to say, it is not going to be easy for you to handle all these tasks on your own. The business is bound to suffer, and if you are in the tech space, then the weight of the entire tasks you are handling may become too burdensome to handle in the future.

Options to Choose From:

  • Hire Competent Staff

As a founder of a business with lots of work on your hands, you have available options to choose from. The first one that comes to mind is for you to hire competent hands and delegate the work functions for them all. It will surely entail hiring a full-on team that will handle the various aspects of your startup, but you will have people on your payroll. But what if you don’t have the funds to hire a full-on staff to handle the bulk of the other work that is needed to be done? What if the work that needs to be done requires a lot of technical expertise or sector-specific technical know-how which requires lots of monthly spending to have someone handling them as part of your staff?  

If you go with the above position and your startup ends up not being profitable within a short, specific time frame so you can recoup your investment, then you may start to sink. Remember, the business terrain is tough and there are no specific guarantees that you will hit it big within a short time. Having to keep afloat for the business and having salaries to pay may not be easy. 

  • Get Competent Co-Founders

This option involves splitting Equity with other people, which in turn means that you are giving up a measure of control over your business, but the benefits can quite outweigh the risks involved. You can onboard competent co-founders for your startup, each one handling specific areas of the business, tied to their technical skills and/or monetary contribution. Together, you will all work to make the business scale.

 I know that many people will argue that they are not ready to give up control or stock from their startup, but I will leave you with an adage: better to have 1% share of a company worth $1 billion USD than to have 100% of a startup that is worth nothing.

So look for co-founders if you cannot effectively pay staff. They could be life saver for you. Sometimes you can afford to pay staff, but it will be instructive to note that your staff will not be as invested in the success of your business more than your co-founders would. Working in tandem with a team that understands the business and are willing to give their all to see the business is quite rewarding in and of its own. Besides that, managing a business on your own can be quite challenging and impractical especially if you are trying to build a large empire that can stand on its own years down the line.

End Note

Most people are usually tempted to keep everything we have and make for themselves without sharing with others, but take a look around you. People and businesses have grown exponentially when they have people behind them. One person can hardly run a venture at optimum performance, so why not bring on people that can help you build and scale? There are always legal issues to be considered, but the services of a good business attorney can put everything into perspective. 

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