A fellow entrepreneur I know is currently facing a situation which a lot of us will reach, at some point on our entrepreneurship journey.
For the last few months, he has been busy building his idea a pretty neat SaaS platform to help developers manage their staging environments, and doing the validation work all alone.
And while the technical part seems to be perfectly on track, he thinks that the time might have come to consider hiring a co-founder to help him with the non-technical tasks.
Luckily enough, he already has an eligible candidate, right in his network. Someone that could be perfect for this position.
But, how can he be sure they will manage to work together?
This blog post compiles answers and advice that you can apply to this specific situation.
The test run
Regarding the start of a new partnership, or association, on a project, there's one thing that my experience has taught me.
Start with a trial period.
Consider it a way to apprehend each other, and reduce the risk of finding out later on that you just can't work together.
The duration has to be defined with your co-founder(s). But, in my opinion, somewhere between 10 and 30 days would be reasonable.
Of course, it is perfectly possible to choose a longer amount of time, depending on where you are in the project and if you are in a hurry to find an associate.
For a secondary project, a longer duration, like a quarter, would fit.
Actually, that's what I picked for a project I'm currently working on with a new partner. I designed a quarter long roadmap, littered with milestones.
What should I give her to do during this test?
Well, it really depends on your core competencies and the skills you were looking for when you decide to get her on board.
In the case of my friend, who is a technical founder, partnering with a person who will fulfill a non-technical role was more important. Here are some suggestions that can apply.
Design the pitching material
Depending on how advanced you are with your strategy, designing the pitching material will either help you build your speech from scratch, identify the flaws in it, or just polish it.
That's a relatively easy task, and the perfect occasion to discuss the communication and marketing strategy for the soon-to-be company.
Define and write the marketing game plan
How are you going to grow the company? Or, put more clearly: how are you going to find customers?
Assuming that you are the technical part of your association, your partner will probably be in charge of this critical task.
Ask her to draft the marketing game plan.
If both of you have no idea how to do it, search the web for the Marketing game plan Noah Kagan wrote for the company Mint.
Write blog posts
It's 2014! A lot of companies have blogs. They are a good way to show your expertise and build an audience.
If you already have a blog or if you are planning to start one, maybe writing one or two blog posts could be on your associate's to-do list while on trial.
Work on the website's copywriting
Another important writing task you can delegate is to check and improve the corporate website copywriting. Since the corporate website or the product landing probably wasn't your main focus, take this chance to finally give it the attention it deserves.
Collect elements for the budget
This one might be a little specific to my friend. But who knows, you may be in the same position.
Doing the budget for the company can be time consuming and out of your technical perimeter / priority.
She can probably help you out by collecting the elements that need to be included in the budget, ask for quotations, and complete the spreadsheet accordingly.
Prepare the interviews of the beta users
Finally, if you already have beta users or if you want to validate your assumptions against people in your target market, you'll need a plan and a framework to do it properly.
And if it doesn't work?
Then rejoice, it's happening during the trial period! Things could have become much more complicated if you had signed a formal partnership agreement already.
Respectfully, acknowledge your working incompatibility and don't forget to be fair. If the provided work in this ephemerally collaboration was meaningful, don't hesitate to compensate her for the accomplished effort.