As a CEO of a Startup, Is It Normal to Argue With Your Co-founder Early On?

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

From the title, you already know what I am about to talk about. Is it normal to argue with your Co-founder early on or not? It is as normal as it is to discuss between you and your wife (if you have one) how to spend for the family needs.

A lot of entrepreneurs out there consider arguing as a bad thing. Yet, some entrepreneurs either enjoy arguing or don’t see it that way. Some even think that they can’t progress without arguing at all.

I’ve seen, read, and heard many entrepreneurs who have voiced their views on this topic. Yet, I don’t think I have come across one that has come up with a clear answer. While some clearly said that you shouldn’t argue with your co-founder early on, others are still struggling to come up with a final answer.

Personally, I think arguing is good for your startup as long as it doesn’t go overboard. I also believe that you should always keep in mind that the best course of action is often the one that is agreed upon by all parties involved in the conversation. Talking about things like an adult is also a must if you want to be at peace with your co-founder(s).

Since I am not a big fan of generalization and prefer not to make broad statements, I decided to list down the pros of arguing for those who want to start their own business:

1. It Is Normal To Argue With Your Co-founder Early On

As mentioned earlier, arguing and discussing between partners is normal as long as it doesn’t go overboard. What goes overboard? That’s when you start yelling at each other, insulting each other, or even being in a state of anger that is not manageable.

2. It Helps You To Reach A Consensus

If you want your startup to succeed, all parties involved in the discussion must reach a consensus. Maybe you are a guy who wants to sell your product for $10, and your co-founder thinks that the price point is too low.

In case you don’t settle on an agreement, there will be no peace in your relationship. That is why it is always best to have an open discussion with your co-founder and convince each other why this is the right thing to do for the company’s survival. This way, both of you will be able to reach a consensus.

3. You Can Learn A Lot From Each Other By Arguing Early On

You may think that your partner knows everything about the business world, but as you get along with each other, you might realize that he/she has different insights and views from yours. If both of you are willing to learn from each other, then arguing early on can help you grow as an entrepreneur. For sure, this will help your startup to progress faster.

4. It Gives You A Better Understanding Of Each Other

At the end of the day, you have to remember that your co-founder is also a person, and like you, he/she also has feelings and emotions. If you don’t take the time to understand his/her point of view, the chances are that things might go south for both of you in the future. If you continuously argue early on, it gives both of you a better understanding of each other’s personality and helps avoid future conflict.

5. It Helps You To Identify Your Strengths And Weaknesses Early On

Arguing will also help both of you identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses early on in your startup journey. You might find out that one person is better in marketing while another is better in product development. This way, both of you will be able to work together more efficiently and reach a consensus when it comes to making important business decisions for your company.

6. You Can Learn How To Handle Stress And Pressure Early On

I believe that all entrepreneurs are human beings, and they feel stress just like anyone else. Even if you are the CEO of a multi-million dollar startup like Uber, you still feel stress. In fact, you might feel more pressure as the founders of a startup.

If you think that stress is bad, it is not. In fact, if you want to succeed in your business, you need to learn how to handle stress and pressure early on. If you don’t know how to handle it and your partner keeps arguing with you, he/she might take all the stress away from you.

7. It Gives You A Better Understanding Of Your Co-founder’s Personality

This is one of the biggest reasons why arguing is good for your startup early on. It helps both of you identify each other’s personality, and this way, both of you can work together more efficiently without having any conflict in the future. If everything goes well during the conversation, then there is a big chance that both of your company’s success will be tied up with each other’s personality or character because when problems come along, later on, they will also come along with solutions when it comes to dealing with them as an entrepreneur.

8. It Breaks The Ice Between You And Your Co-founder Early On

Many entrepreneurs out there are usually afraid to argue early on because they think that their co-founder might hate them after the argument. But if you truly love your business, then there is no reason why both of you should hate each other after the argument is over. That said, it also helps break the ice between the two of you early on so that both of you can work together more efficiently in the future.

9. It Shows Your Co-founder That You Are Not Afraid To Discuss

If you truly love your business, you need to show your co-founder that you are not afraid to discuss with him/her. This way, both of you can work on the right things for the startup’s future.

10. It Helps You To Take The Right Decisions For The Company’s Future Growth

Since every business is different, it is important that both of you should take the right decisions for the company’s future growth. If both of you are willing to put in your effort and take a decision together, there is a big chance that it will be the right one because it will be made by two people who love each other and care about their business.

In conclusion, arguing early on is normal as long as you keep calm during the talk. Just like when you argue with your wife, you should also listen to what your partner is saying. That’s the only way for both of you to reach a consensus and for you to move on with your business.

About the Author

I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces, and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.

You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.

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Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and investor.

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Alexander Lim

Alexander Lim

Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and investor.

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