For me having a business focused co-founder is key. Don't get me wrong - I love business problems, financial modelling and have also been known to do my fair share of cold calling customers. The bottom line is that when you aren't focusing you aren't being efficient. I am definitely a subscriber to the idea that in a startup you have to spend as much time as you can doing what you are really good at as that is how you will differentiate. On the sales front it has definitely been my experience also, that in the B2B sales focusing on sales rather than marketing initially gives the best chance of success. Given that, having one founder focus on sales while the other focuses on delivering the 'stuff' seems like the perfect combination.
As well as sales performance the ideal business related co-founder to a technical co-founder can also take ownership of three other areas:
1. Product Management
Product management is a very broad role in large companies. In startups this role is even more essential and can often be lost in the other tasks spread among the founders. The benefit of having the business co-founder focus on this is that it shortens the feedback cycle from customers to product requirements.
2. Pricing and Placement
Pricing your product can be done a number of ways and it is often tempting to under-price your product. By having the business founder use market research and other factors, combined with more perspective on what the product is 'worth' to customers you get a better result. You are more likely to maximise the potential pricing of your product as well as reach the best pricing level faster.
One thing that I had definitely traditionally not paid enough attention to was the perception of the brand I was working on from clients. There are a few key things to consider but the old rules still apply
you never get a second chance to make a first impresison. Give the business founder the resources they need to make sure that your brand is ready to sell. Invest in your website, branding, logo, social and PR. The business founder can lead on these initiative and this will give you the best chance of getting through the first six months to a year.
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