What should you do if your startup co-founder does not work?

Finding right co-founder for your startup is a herculean task. It is like finding your soul mate. Once you come across that person, it is like half the battle is won. You feel confident and focused about your vision. You get excited about all the possibilities and things you can achieve together.

But once the startup journey begins and the initial euphoria goes away, people hit the ground realities. You start wondering whether your co-founder is fit for the role any more. You feel that the person is not contributing as per expectation. She does not have all the skills and not making any effort to learn new skills. Motivation is low and work is getting affected.

You can not focus because of this. Only thing on your mind is how to save your startup. Needless to say that this is a very critical situation which results in many startup failures.

What should you do in such situation?

Well only way to get out of this situation is to face the situation straight and talk to your co-founder. There is no need to fight or being angry. Instead get out of office or your workplace. Go to some quite place (may be a park etc.) and make the agenda of meeting very clear.

Keep a list of topics and any examples of specific behavior which are clearly against your startup goals and vision.

Try to explain your situation, expectations and commitments that you both made before starting your journey. Identify the problems which are resulting in this situation. There can be any one or more of following problems.

-Does not believe in idea any more.
-Does not have interest in what she is doing?
-Want to explore some other areas (or opportunities)
-Financial issues
-Problem with team members or with you
-Personal problem (family, health etc.)
-Expectation mismatch from each other
-Equity issue

Try to discuss at length and identify the issue(s). You may need to do multiple meetings and discussions to arrive at the right problem. Ask right questions and see if there is some thing which can help mitigate the problem.

Try to be open minded and focus on solution rather than problems. If your co-founder has some problem and if she is willing to co-operate and believe in the idea than by all means give it another chance.

However if you feel that person has lost the belief in the idea and vision than nothing can help bring her motivation and interest.

It is better to part ways amicably and start looking for alternatives. Cut your losses short.

Though it is easier said than done but it is always better to cut losses fast and move on. Instead of worrying about your co-founder not working.

Do let me know your thoughts as well on this.