Position Your Startup for the Long-Term

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When starting a new business, there’s a strong temptation to make decisions for the short term. But you need to anticipate the long-term challenges. There are three things it’s critical to get right:

  • Co-founders. The natural inclination is to co-found with family or friends. But these relationships can be fraught. Plus you’re more likely to have similar perspectives. Look for partners who bring complementary skills and assets.
  • Roles. Most founders want a C-level title. After all, they were there from the start. But choose roles that reflect the actual work each founder will do, not the fancy title he wants to show off.
  • Rewards. One of the biggest questions for start-ups is how to split equity ownership. A handshake on 50/50 will not do, because almost all new companies will have a major change in strategy or founder involvement. Negotiate an arrangement that can change when circumstances do.

Adapted from “Three Pitfalls Startup Founders Must Avoid” by Noam Wasserman.

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