Updated: Mar 24
A client told me once that his relationship with his co-founder was the most toxic relationship he had ever experienced in his life. Even when it does not reach that level, I see amongst my clients the challenges (and perks) of co-founding. It is a bit like a marriage - and some. You start off with such commitment to each other, a vision for the future and full of hope. The fact that you're different people is your strength. One is detail, the other big picture. Great. As difficult decisions arise and especially during challenging times on your growth journey, you realise your different perspectives can also get in the way. Dare I say it, sometimes you don't even look forward to talking to each other anymore. Maybe some unacknowledged resentment sits there in the background. The thing about resentment is it has a habit of rearing its head at some point in the future.
But who can you speak to about these worries? You definitely can't share it with your staff or your clients - clearly that will damage the business. You are not going to be keen to raise it with the Board. Your investors prefer the good news. You have to be careful speaking to friends and family. They mean well but they are so tempted to agree, take sides (most people do), they will tell you you're right and your co-founder is unreasonable. That won't help. Being a founder can be a lonely place sometimes.
So who do you talk to when your best efforts aren't working?