5 Tips for Establishing Boundaries with Co-Founders

Businesses that manage to reach a larger-than-life status in their industry often share common principles to get to the top with a solid foundation. Spearheading an organization requires combining visionary brilliance with business savviness to complement independent strengths and weaknesses. That’s why when hard-working co-founders partner with visionary leaders, the result is almost always a successful business. 

However, keeping the peace between strong personalities can be tricky behind the scenes. In most cases, founders need to collaborate with partners that offer different perspectives, especially since diverse areas of expertise have been proven to strengthen a company. 

But, there are two sides to every coin, which means all the differences can also cause conflict when the pressures start to take their  toll. When co-founders clash, it can result in a messy issue when not handled with care; that’s why every business and member must set boundaries at work to maintain peace behind doors. 

Boundaries don’t restrict people but rather focus them on drawing a line to ensure everyone stays on track with the company vision. For company founders dealing with critical problems (usually with money, equity, or ego at stake), how can one keep calm and ensure the partnership remains synergistic? 

Setting Boundaries at Work: The Importance of Office-Life Balance 

Tip #1: Sharing Core Principles Keeps Teams Connected to Things that Matter the Most 

Educated discourse between co-founders is healthy since it brings new ideas to the table. After all, innovation only happens when someone strives to break the status quo. But this setting can easily turn into a fruitless argument if they don’t have anything of value to keep everyone in the team grounded. 

When partners share core principles, it is  easier to explore unique concepts together since they have an overarching goal that keeps everyone on the same page. For example, co-founders can experiment with different strategies, but all align with their core principle of providing the best customer experience. 

A core principle is a foundational value or belief that undergirds the company’s vision, mission, and reason for existing. In a business setting, they are often focused on maximizing impact for customers, communities, and the stakeholders within the business. If a business is unclear on its core principles, it is hard to align the team around decisions because the underlying motivator may be missing.

With that in mind, sharing core principles should serve as a driving force that points everyone to the same destination down the road. To achieve this, companies like Beanie & Blazer help businesses become investible and guide founders to build a base for their startups.

Tip #2: Always Maintain Each Other’s Respect 

Co-founders are highly talented leaders with strong visions in their own right, which means ego can often get in the way at some point. In such situations, it is important to show faith and be open to minor adjustments in the final decision, especially when the initial agreement was to rely on the partnership and share responsibilities for the company.

If sharing core principles points the business in the right direction, then consciously choosing to respect each other’s disciplines ensures everyone stays in the right lane. Overtaking decisions may lead to a crash and burn, so co-founders need to give their vote of confidence when it is the other's time to lead the decision-making process on topics outside of one’s expertise.

Tip #3: Tackling burnout and being mindful of each other’s needs

One of the most common setbacks that lead to a fall-out between two aspiring leaders is burnout. The lack of motivation or will to push for greater success dies down when leaders are in full torque for too long. Not only does it affect the growth of the company, it directly impacts the mental health of founders and acts as an anchor in their progress.

Fortunately, there are ways to tackle burnout no matter how challenging life becomes.

- Define & communicate goals to all team members (c-suite and below).

- Try to make an amicable settlement on task distribution so each partner gets to do more of what they enjoy.

- Celebrate the victories because it creates an optimistic environment for co-founders to thrive in.

- Do not  forget to take time off to unwind

Providing support to each other through tough situations and being considerate towards sharing the workload with proper communication can help build a relationship that works for the company’s best interest. Nothing is better than work relationships where co-founders can empathize with one another and work together towards success.

Tip #4: Keep Peace with the Help of Mediators 

The best partnerships can support each other with complementary strengths and weaknesses, so it makes sense to bring in a new perspective when co-founders reach a plateau in their collaboration. When both ideas do not  work, then it is time to bring in a third party who can offer unbiased advice so both partners can reach a satisfying resolution moving forward. 

With that in mind, there is no shame in collaborating with a business coach or mentor to help founders realign with each other’s vision. It is easy to get lost along the way, but at Beanie & Blazer, the mentors can help clear any confusion. With a strong community of advisors, entrepreneurs, and investors we help co-founders restructure their path to success.

That is why a mediator plays a critical role in propelling a company’s growth, especially since they help co-founders navigate pivotal decision-making moments when their differences cloud their judgment. 

Tip #5: Learn When to Healthily Disagree and Commit to Decisions 

Healthy relationships are often established when partners are willing to compromise, but not all cases call for all parties to meet in the middle. Sometimes, the middle ground can slow a company’s progress and hinder its strategy. 

When co-founders only agree on something for the sake of meeting each other halfway, then it is good to take a step back and analyze how that decision will impact the bottom line. 

Deciding when to compromise or push for a certain idea is tricky since it is often a fine line, but the key is to commit to a decision once it is made. Avoid pointing fingers and talking about “what ifs” and “should haves” since they will only serve as roadblocks. 

If a problem leads all co-founders astray, having the ability to accept the consequences can do wonders for keeping everyone’s sights set on what they can do better in the future. 

It is also a good idea to hold retrospective review meetings, where the team discusses the results of a project, campaign, or initiative to determine what went well, what could have been improved, and how to make those improvements in the future. Regularly practicing such “retro’s” ensures everyone is aligned on process improvements going forward.

Tip #6: Always Strive to Improve and Learn Together as a Team

Innovation roots from an uncanny willingness to learn. After all, there is no cap to knowledge, so shedding the ego and accepting that there are always more things to improve on can prevent everyone from reaching a plateau. When co-founders keep an open mind, it is easier to sharpen skills and gain new perspectives that can set the stage for growth.

At Beanie & Blazer, we educate, coach, and mentor entrepreneurs and ambitious co-founders to be progressive with their businesses. The goal is to create an entrepreneurial community that helps scale ventures and create broad-based access to (re)invest, whilst keeping the founders sane.

The best companies strive to evolve together; that is why co-founders need to be open to learning and strategizing together. After all, it is easy to lose passion when the focus is only on the goals. More often, the journey to the goal offers something more valuable than the destination! Therefore, having the willingness to gain more knowledge can refuel one’s motivation and rekindle everyone’s enthusiasm. 

Teams can organize a book club to review helpful publications related to any circumstances to put a solution into practice. Leaders can also set up a monthly budget and carve time for people on the team to develop skills in their functional areas. Don’t know where to start? Consult with an expert at Beanie & Blazer to help.

Tip #7: Using a checklist and calendar to prioritize tasks

It is good to rely on intuition and productivity spurts to get tasks done, but it can get tricky to manage an entire company without organizing things and doing them on set deadlines. Co-founders need organization and deadlines for a business to run efficiently; the last thing one wants is blame-shifting between company leaders!

Using a good old calendar to plan tasks paves the path for massive productivity gains for every organization. By doing so, there is a certainty that no one's workload overlaps with another person’s responsibilities for the same task at different times of days or weeks. This results in more accurate communication throughout the organization and helps avoid conflicts due to miscommunications caused by overlapping assignments.

Tip #8: Setting Goals and Working Towards Them Together

Most startup leaders do not have a clear vision of their goals and what they want to achieve. This can ultimately frustrate them and cause a tiff within the leadership team.

When the leaders have a clear vision and understanding of what their goals are, working together becomes easy. When founders are on the same page, it is easier to work together towards a common goal. This creates synergy amongst team members, leading to more production and increased efficiency in achieving company goals. 

By setting goals for each quarter, founders can plan out how they will reach those milestones by breaking down large tasks into manageable chunks that can be completed within specific time frames. Additionally, revisiting these quarterly objectives after each period allows startups to evaluate whether or not they met their targets and determine if any changes need to be made moving forward. This ensures that founders stay motivated with an end-goal in sight while also creating opportunities for improvement when needed.

The Bottom Line: Drawing a Healthy Line to Prevent Founders, Managers, and Aspiring Moguls from Clashing Heads 

Co-founders have strong visions, but sometimes these ideals can clash and result in entrepreneurial dilemmas. Setting boundaries protect each other’s mental health and ensure everyone can meet eye-to-eye despite the differences. 

After all, balancing different areas of expertise can often kill a business when it is not built on a strong foundation. Nevertheless, when co-founders truly care for their relationship it is evident that two (or more) brilliant minds are better than one!

Wondering where businesses can find the right guidance or a suitable strategic partner?

As a founder, it is important to know how best to navigate the ups and downs of being in business with another person. Setting clear boundaries early on in a relationship will help protect everyone’s mental health so that there is no fight for control or power over decisions.

Additionally, external support like business coaches, advisors, and network partners can ensure the strategic and tactical needs of the business are met by the business operators. They also serve as important allies in encouragement and accountability.

Looking for Investors to Fund A Vision? 

Chasing after dreams as an aspiring entrepreneur is undoubtedly exciting, but it takes more than determination and a leap of faith to manifest goals. Every startup needs enough funding to bring novel ideas to fruition but finding the right support can be tricky.

Angel investment networks & crowdfunding opportunities in Raleigh, NC can help established founders build investable businesses & secure capital (without diluting equity); that is why Beanie & Blazer strives to create an entrepreneurial community where budding business leaders, investors, and potential partners can make meaningful connections on top of their contributions. 

We provide a platform where good businesses can build their capital and catapult their growth, so get in touch with us today to see how our expert team can help turn dreams into reality. 

‍Beanie & Blazer does not provide investment advice and is not a registered investment advisor or broker-dealer. Investing in startups is risky, never invest more than you’re willing to lose.

To read the full disclaimer, click here (https://beanieandblazer.com/disclaimer/ )

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