Tips for Choosing Co-Founders and Advisors

The internet is filled with advice on how to select co-founders and advisors for your startup. Most will tell you that your team is one of the most important things, if not THE most important thing, in improving your chances for success. Here are a few key qualities you should consider when choosing a co-founder and advisors for your startup.
Choosing someone for this role requires patience in your search and attention to several essential qualities:
Complementary Skills – Most often, there are two founders on a startup team, often referred to as the "builder and seller". Do you have that mix? If you are technology skilled, seek someone who has business and/or sales skills.
Strong Trust – Do you know this person? Do you implicitly trust them with your most prized business idea and to represent the company? There ‘s not a lot of room for doubt here.
Passion and Persistence – It ‘s not a secret that a startup is a tough endeavor. Is your candidate in it with you for the long haul, and do they share the same belief that success is imminent?
Culture and Values – What is important to you, and how does that fit with the growth of your company? Personalities will differ, but will you both be aligned when it comes to vision, culture, hiring, and investment?
Advisors are experts that make up your inner circle, they are your consigliere. Advisors are brought on to offer experience, ask difficult questions, lend credibility and help you overcome obstacles. Here are few things to consider when choosing advisors:
Roles – Where do you need to focus your growth, and what role can others play to help? Do you need an advisor who is a domain expert, has industry credibility, can serve as a personal coach, or that can provide introductions? Choose based on need. Also remember that guidance from your lawyer and accountant is invaluable, but they are not advisors as we ‘re defining it here.
Time – Experts and those that are well-connected are highly sought after. Can they, or are they willing to, put in the required time to help your cause?
Accomplishments – What have they accomplished in their careers? Does it apply to your growth needs? Do they have the right experience to guide you through good times and bad?
We encourage startups to seek help and take advantage of the wealth of information that exists to best understand the nuances you ‘ll face as you search for a co-founder or an advisory team member. Much of this knowledge will be transferable as you begin hiring your initial employees. As you are searching, get recommendations from trusted friends, colleagues and mentors who may know the talent better than you do, especially if it ‘s talent outside of your area.

Ed Bizari is an entrepreneur in residence with Launch NY and can be reached at [email protected]. Launch NY is a non-profit venture development organization with a mission to create jobs by providing guidance, mentoring and investments to help emerging companies succeed within the 27 counties of Upstate New York.

Editor ‘s Note: The 43North team is tapping into key sponsors, like Launch NY, to offer up tips for entrepreneurs and startups.