Why you don’t need a co-founder to start your own business

Aytekin Tank
The Startup
Published in
7 min readMar 5, 2018

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Originally published on JOTFORM.COM

50% of small businesses fail by the fifth year. 23% of the time, it’s simply because they didn’t elect the right team.

And, historically, co-founder disputes are a leading cause in the burning down of startups in early stages.

It’s devastating to think that a failed company could have had a chance if they had only invested in the right team. Just think of how many game-changing products we’ve probably lost out on because of personal disagreements.

Co-founders can be great, but many entrepreneurs waste their time searching for a perfect match, just because investors often favor teams over solopreneurs.

Contrary to the popular model of finding a co-founder to bear the brunt of your founding duties and responsibilities, I’m going to argue the opposite.

When I started JotForm, my model was always to take my time and do it on my own terms without necessarily following what the Silicon Valley startup culture is telling us to do.

I didn’t quit my day-job until I knew I was ready to grow my business.

I didn’t follow my passion. Instead of meeting the hyper-growth expectations of investors, I watched my company slowly grow from 1 to 100 without taking any single dime in outside funding.

I didn’t follow the “get a co-founder ASAP” model — though I almost did. And I’m glad I stuck it out solo.

Getting a co-founder can be a profitable move. But I want to explain it’s not the only one.

The marriage metaphor

Marriage is a beautiful idea. Think support, honesty, and trust.

But marriage is also idealized, and there are a lot of factors that go into a successful one. Think communication, conflict-resolution, and again trust. Relationships are complicated and that’s never going to change.

And if you aren’t prepared to see your co-founder as someone that you’re in a full-time relationship with, then you may want to consider seeing other people.

Paul Graham, startup guru, is a huge advocate for businesses with co-founders. He’s likely a large part of why most new businesses seek co-founders earlier on.

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Aytekin Tank
The Startup

Founder and CEO of www.jotform.com || Bestselling author of Automate Your Busywork. Find more at https://aytekintank.com/ (contact: AytekinTank@Jotform.com)