My startup is in beta so it will be wise for me to concentrate on product improvement (as CTO) and to find a partner who will run the business and networking part of a startup (as CEO).
My question is - what's the most careful way of starting partner relations with a stranger? It's been a year since I started and I don't want to loose everything in one mistake.
Current startup status: (MVP in open beta testing, not-incorporated, running on my savings alone)
Someone who believes in the idea and has the right mindset and skills to be a great partner should have no issue in consulting with you for free for a bit. He/she wants to understand success potential and you want to road test their skills and assess cultural / personal fit. This approach has worked well for me personally. You want someone that can complement you and push you in uncomfortable ways while being committed to the success of the venture.
Well, it may sound very simple but I think you and your partner have to be very good friends. Think as a company as your baby, and your partner a kind of your wife :-) so everything looks great where there are no problems but you need someone that you can go through hard times as well. So I do not think that there is most careful way of starting partner relations with a stranger. You really need to go with this person on many 'dates' .. :-)
Diamond-Short answer-ask him to evaluate your business plan if you have one. If you do not, ask him to offer his thoughts on all of the major sections of a business plan and ask him how he would construct one and create a road map for the company. If he can’t do this, he is not CEO material.
I woudl like to help answer your question, but this website has annoying feature of not allow you to backspace in your posts ---- so you can't chnage or correct anything without destroying text. Horrible "feature"
Negotiate what happens if it doesn't work out.
There are lots of options. You just need to agree up front what happens.
And by the way, once you say something, you can never unsay it. Once you have started blabbing and setting expectations with a prospective CEO, and then bring your lawyer in to do the necessaries.....
Well that is sort of like selecting and mixing all the ingredients in and then bringing in your chef to cook it. Why even bother with a chef at that point?
You aren't yet incorporated. Maybe now is the time to go to a lawyer, incorporate and discuss your options.
One option might be to create one company that you own exclusively (that holds all your intellectual property) and a second operations company that you do not own exclusively. When some real investors come in, you may have to take a second look at that structure, but until then it will likely give you additional flexibility and additional options in the event something bad happens.
@Jack M H. Nice to know Im not the only one annoyed by this flaw in cofounder lab. You have to write in a word file and paste. But then it lumps as one block of text…also annoying. Maybe cofounders lab needs to seek some new software developers for their website.