Say you’re committed to starting an online business that provides donut lovers a way to share pictures, opinions, and stories about their favorite breakfast confection.  Well congratulations!  You’re about to join the ranks of what made this country great - you’re going to be an entrepreneur.

But before you can roll in piles of cash after receiving a massive return on your investment, you actually have to get started, right?  Who’s on board with your new venture?  Hopefully it’s not just you.  And why not just you?  Because you don’t have all the answers.  As much as you think you do, you don’t.  A co-founder will be the ying to your yang, salt to your pepper, macaroni to your cheese.  Your co-founder should bring a complementary set of skills to the table.  If you’re an engineer, find a business person who can actually get the world to pay attention to your product (and they don’t necessarily need an MBA, according to Guy Kawasaki).  If you’re a business person, then find an engineer to build your world-changing widget.

I’m proud to say this is exactly the partnership we’ve built at MentorMob.  My co-founder Kris and I are extremely complementary - Kris is the visionary strategist and I’m the down-to-earth technologist.  Plus, each of us always has someone passionate and trustworthy to bounce ideas around with.  And if that’s not enough of a reason here’s what may be the most important - there’s just too much damn work for one person!  But don’t go overboard. I wouldn’t want more founders than the number of fingers on Bart Simpson’s right hand.  Otherwise you won’t be able to make a quick decision.

So once you’ve picked your co-pilot, Goose, where to next?  You should be in good shape to start developing the product, and before long you’re going to grow.  Here are some folks you will need on the team in no time:

  • Developers - to build out and refine the features of your core product
  • Social Media Manager - to keep tabs on your social presence
  • Business Developers/Sales - to find partnerships with other companies
  • Public Relations - to steer you through the storms you inevitably have to cross

When interviewing possible future teammates, here are some things we ask ourselves at MentorMob:

  • Are they smarter than us…by a lot?  We’re trying to be successful, but not egotistical - hire the best people available.
  • Are they a Swiss-army knife of skills?  Being in a start-up you need to be able to do multiple tasks and help out when you can.
  • Do they fit in with the culture?   So far we’ve developed an awesome culture where everyone works really well independently and together.  If we let one bad seed into the mix it’ll wreak havoc on our mojo.  To prevent this, new hires go through a trial-period. This way the prospective gets a chance to see if they like the our start-up environment and if our start-up environment likes them.
  • Are they passionate?  Why do they want to work with us?  We need people who share the same vision we do, who aren’t just coming in for a pay-check.

So if you’re serious about your business idea (donuts or no), you’ve got to realize you can’t do it alone.  And you need to choose carefully who’s going to help you get there.