The sluggish economy has been a death sentence to thousands of start-ups since 2008. Many say that finding a cofounder now is more difficult than ever. However, signs of recovery are finally beginning to show themselves and the number of new investors has finally begun to rise. The pickings can still be slim if you don’t know where to, or how to, look. While the following hints are far from foolproof, they should give you a puncher’s chance of landing that cofounder you’ve been looking for.
The Internet, videoconferencing and other such technology was supposed to spell the end of massive conventions and the expensive travel that went with them, but the truth is, so much information is shared at these events, they have proven themselves to be indispensible. Some of the larger industry conventions still attract the movers and shakers in their field and those are the folks you want to target for possible cofounder status. The goal here is to be prepared to give your pitch at a moment’s notice. Have a good idea of what, where and when you can meet people and, most importantly, don’t blow it. You’ll likely only get one chance.
While the detached, emotionless nature of sending out proposals online is far from ideal, the right package can break through the clutter and capture a cofounder’s imagination. Stay far, far away from form letters or stale, stagnant sales pitches. Try to follow up your email (preferably the same day) with a phone call. Avoid being pushed to voice mail, instead, call back when your prospect is available. If you feel that you have a glimmer of interest, ask to meet in person, even if they only have 10 minutes to see you. That’s more than enough time if you have a brilliant idea.
See that stack of business cards you have on your desk? It’s time to start putting them to work. If there is one rule of business it is that who you know is often more important than what you know. If your prospect’s card isn’t sitting on your desk or in your wallet, maybe the card of someone who knows him or her is. Networking is the heart and soul of business and it could lead to the perfect cofounder with just a phone call or two. You never know until you pick up the phone and start dialing.