At an early stage, co-founders are engaged in every cadence of the business. They weigh in on every decision and do what needs to be done to get the startup off the ground. But as the business grows, co-founder responsibilities need to be formalised.
The exact responsibilities of a co-founder can differ from startup to startup. They may function as a C-suite executive, holding a broad operational role. They could take on the role of a product head, making everyday managerial decisions. Or they may be responsible for bringing in funding.
Nevertheless, the roles and boundaries of who makes what decisions must be clearly defined because discord between co-founders is a fatal issue for startups. Internal conflict is why 43% of co-founders end up splitting up.
It is always better to formalise roles and responsibilities to avoid conflicts rather than having a generalist ‘everyone doing everything’ approach. Here is an in-depth guide on the co-founders’ responsibilities and duties to start you off with.
Co-founder Responsibilities that can shape a Startup’s Vision
The co-founder of a startup is generally the person who defines the business idea. They always have a say in a startup's strategy and decision-making and are responsible for implementing its vision. Their other responsibilities can also include bringing in investment or providing technical or business skills.
1. Raising Funds
Most co-founders take on fundraising responsibilities and help raise funds for their startups. They build relationships and look out for ventures and partnership opportunities that help raise funds and grow the business.
A co-founder is generally responsible for pitching effectively to potential investors. They must have thorough knowledge about their product or service for the same and must have good marketing skills. Co-founders who can communicate well and are enthusiastic about their startup are generally successful in fulfilling this responsibility.
2. Business Planning and Identifying Market Opportunities
One of the primary co-founders responsibilities is researching and analysing the market for opportunities and changes. Co-founders study the target market from a bird’s eye view to determine how to position the product or service to get maximum traction. They take initiatives that are crucial for the business right from its ideation stage.
Since go-to-market strategies and scaling are their duties, they need to find opportunities that the market demands. A facet of this role is understanding if there is enough demand for the product or service the startup plans to launch or the new modules and features being released.
Co-founders also develop both long-term and short-term business plans. This comprises setting applicable metrics and performance indicators to measure all progress. It also includes a variety of roles, like assessing risk and identifying how to mitigate it or making marketing decisions like launching a promotion.
3. Lead Product Development
Co-founders who join before the product launch may also be responsible for gathering user feedback and building the minimal viable product (MVP). Leading product development, deployment, and delivery is one of the more crucial co-founder responsibilities.
They are also closely involved in creating the future product roadmap, keeping long-term scalability in mind. Besides architectural and engineering decisions, they monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to assess technical performance. Further, they bring the product to life by coming up with ideas and creating processes to implement them. This responsibility is generally reserved for technical co-founders who can lead technology and/or product.
4. Orchestrating the Team
The most important duty of many co-founders is forming the team. They play an active role in identifying dedicated people who will work with 100 percent commitment and whose vision aligns with the startup.
Recruiting and building an effective team is not limited to finding the right candidates for the right jobs. It includes convincing them to join while keeping the startup’s budget in mind. Part of this co-founder's responsibility is also managing freelancers or external agencies.
A major concern of team building is maintaining morale. Co-founders also play the role of resolving conflicts and motivating the team to preserve the momentum high.
5. Defining Culture
A startup’s culture is defined by the behaviours encouraged or reinforced by the founder and co-founders. Establishing these values is part of the co-founder's responsibilities because they inform decision-making, processes, and policies. As a co-founder, the company culture starts with you, and you are responsible for defining the culture and upholding it in every walk of life.
Co-Founder Responsibilities Evolve
The daily needs will change as the startup scales and expands. Consequently, so should the role of a co-founder. As your startup scales, they may start with creating legal documents and evolve into guiding the board of directors.
As a co-founder, it is important to believe in your team and efficiently delegate responsibilities when the time demands. Even with predefined roles, a co-founder must pivot as market and time demands.
Still looking for more informed guidance on defining co-founder responsibilities? At Scalix, a founders’ platform by LetsVenture, we give you easy access to community, capital, customers, and convenience to build sustainable and scalable businesses. Sign up today!