What makes a good co-founding team? How can you quantify the success of a business relationship? How do you transform a partnership that’s veering off course?
In a 15-year qualitative study and a quantitative study into the attitudes and motivations of entrepreneurs, Fingerprint for Success has uncovered distinct patterns in the interests and preferences of both those who achieve venture success and those who struggle.
This world-first research assessed 48 motivations of some of the world’s top entrepreneurs and analysed them for correlations with venture success—and, equally important, attitudinal blind spots found to be statistically significant in entrepreneurs who experienced venture failure.
These findings give entrepreneurs a huge advantage when choosing their co-founders and business partners. The study also looked at business partnerships up to 20 years old over a range of businesses, including those that had been sold in multi-million dollar business exits and those that had failed.
There are many reasons why business partnerships fail, including:
A business partnership can present a variety of difficulties, however, our research found that multi-million dollar business exits were more likely to arise from a partnership than a sole founder.
So what are the critical ingredients of a successful business partnership—one that allows each partner to shine and the business to flourish?
From 18 years of case studies from working with hundreds of different entrepreneurs, these are our highlights:
If this is what a healthy partnership looks like, how do you cultivate and foster one?
First, sit down with your prospective co-founder and find out what your vision and intentions for the business are. Ask questions like:
Next, consider how you want to achieve that vision:
Alignment is not a box to tick at the beginning of a partnership, but something you do regularly and at each major decision point.
There are three elements to emotional intelligence:
Self awareness, communication and tolerance are the lubricant that allow you and your co-founder to have different working styles and to harness and embrace the power of that difference.
Acknowledging achievement is essential to a functioning partnership. Set regular goals and celebrate achieving them—effective goal setting is also found in co-founders who have longevity and fulfilment in their partnerships
Our research found that a very high focus on goals, achievement and recognition is correlated with venture success.
Going into a partnership, make sure none of these warning signs are showing:
One of the most critical decisions you will make in business will be your choice in co-founder: a dysfunctional partnership is one of the most stressful experiences possible in business, with long-term consequences to both wealth and health.
On the other hand, a functioning partnership increases early stage traction, momentum and ability to scale, and makes the journey tremendously rewarding and adventure shared. Making the right choice is a crucial decision that you shouldn’t only leave to your gut feeling.
Want to know where you and your co-founder clash and complement each other?
Take your Fingerprint for Success assessment and find out about your motivations today.
Our programs were designed by world-renown coaches, and sessions only take 5-15 minutes. Get started for free with personalized program now by chatting in the box below:
Our expert coaches have designed hyper-effective programs that will help
choose your co-founder.
Coach Marlee (your amazing AI-powered personal coach) will analyse your unique traits and goals to let you know which program to start with (and if there are any you should skip)!
Your recommended programs include:
Inspire yourself and others to see the bigger picture! Increase your comfort and use of abstract strategic thinking to see and seize opportunities with a potential co-founder. Big picture thinking is especially helpful for impactful communication, identifying priorities and aligning teams with clarity and focus.
Inspire yourself and others to see and achieve grand visions and goals. A focus on goals is especially helpful for aligning mission and values with a potential co-founder, unlocking potential, high impact communication and for achieving awesome outcomes together.
Strengthen your emotional intelligence (EQ) to find and bring out the best in your co-founding team. Awareness of your and others’ emotions is at the heart of ‘reading’ co-founders, unlocking potential, high impact communication and achieving awesome outcomes together.
Identify and foster a successful co-founder partnership by embracing their experience in decision making. During this eight week program Coach Marlee will help you to develop a genuine appreciation for experimentation and data and a willingness to empower the opinions, feedback and insights from within your team and others in your life.
In this high impact eight week program Coach Marlee will help increase your comfort and confidence to hold your own as a co-founder of a new business, navigate investors and other stakeholders and also help you develop greater comfort to compete and collaborate at the top of your industry or field.
Close the gap between your great ideas and starting them. Energy and drive for starting is key for inventing new things, disrupting, starting businesses, or in situations where you need to think on your feet, such as working within co-founding teams.
Explore, strengthen and stand by what you believe in as a founder. Trust in your ‘gut feel’ and point of view is especially helpful for knowing what you believe in, taking a stand on topics important to you and for building authentic and meaningful relationships within co-founding teams.
“Marlee creates momentum and feels good to move ahead”
"With attention to detail program, I learned a whole new way to see and approach projects"
“Coaching with Marlee was simply amazing. 200% recommend!”
“Marlee helped me build deeper levels of self-esteem and how I valued myself vis-a-vis the greater world. It also taught me courage to believe in my beliefs, and that it is not about success or failure, but that we give it a go, a try”
“I love how practical this coaching is!”
“I discovered I need to be conscious of where I want to go - to get there”
“Wow this program has totally changed my relationship to goals! Thanks so much Marlee, I miss you already”
"I have learned how to communicate better using every tool I have in myself, especially in learning how to use my tone of voice"