Finding a Co-Founder for Your RIA Firm

Your career goal might be to found your own financial advisory firm.  

The technical aspects of starting a business can be a challenge — from picking a name to covering the startup costs to finding clients to developing an effective marketing strategy — but sometimes the most difficult part can be finding the right support.  

Someone who’s in the trenches with you. Someone to celebrate the highs and commiserate the lows with. Someone who’s just as invested in the business and determined to succeed.  

In other words, a co-founder.

Katie Burke and I (Bridget Grimes) run our own financial advisory firms, WealthChoice and Method Financial Planning, but we are co-founders of Equita Financial Network. Katie and I work so well together as co-founders because of our shared vision, passion for our work, and work styles.

So what should you keep in mind when you’re looking for a co-founder?

What to Look for in a Co-Founder

Harvard Business Review has a great list of qualities you should be mindful of:  

  1. A complementary temperament. Find someone who will fill in the gaps around your personality strengths so there’s a balance.
  2. Different operational skills. Are you better at business development? Is project management an area of weakness for you? Find a co-founder who has different strengths.
  3. Similar work habits. Katie is on the East Coast and I’m on the West Coast, but we still work well together because we have the same expectations on work-life balance.
  4. Self-sufficiency. It’s important to be reliable and self-sufficient as a co-founder.
  5. A history of working together. Katie and I knew each other in business before starting Equita. As Harvard Business Review says, “a long-term relationship can help you leapfrog the learning curve of the close collaboration, which can sometimes take years to develop.”
  6. Emotional buoyancy. There will hard times as a co-founder — whether it’s in your personal life or in your business. It’s important to have a co-founder who can be a buoy for you during trying times. 
  7. Total honesty. Even though it will be tough to hear at times, you need a co-founder who will be completely honest with you.
  8. Comfort in her own skin. When you both are confident and know yourselves well, this will reduce arguments about roles and responsibilities. 
  9. A personality you like. Sometimes, you’ll be spending more time with your co-founder than your spouse or partner. It’s important to like and appreciate the person you’re founding a business with. 
  10. The same overall vision. For a business to succeed, you should have the same motivations and vision.

50 Places to Find a Co-Founder

So how can you find a co-founder? Inc. provides 50 ideas of where to find a co-founder, such as former co-workers, at meet-ups, through mutual introductions, by taking a class, or by volunteering. We encourage you to take a look at the list and think about which options and outlets make sense for you to tap when searching for your own co-founder.  

What should you do if you find a co-founder you didn’t know previously? Take time to build the relationship and ask them key questions, such as “How many hours/week are you willing to work?,” “What would you want your role to be?,” or “What impact do you want to have?” Also  consider asking for professional references to see if they are a good fit.

Don’t Want a Co-Founder? Find an Accountability Partner

What if you don’t want a co-founder, but you still want support? Consider getting an accountability partner — someone who helps you stay on track and reach your business goals.

Equita Financial Network is made up of women financial planners who run their own businesses throughout the country — in Pennsylvania, California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Tennessee. Joining our network is a great place to find the support and community you need to reach your goals. Reach out to our team today to learn more. 

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