Strategic Partnerships · Sales

Co-Founder Crossroads--Going it alone--is it time to take on a new partner?

Lisa Lurie Co Founder & CEO, Cancer Be Glammed,

February 15th, 2016

I am the co-founder of Cancer Be Glammed, a multi-platform company that helps women recover from the devastating, appearance-related side effects of cancer surgery and treatment. I co-founded CBG with a dear friend following my treatment for Breast Cancer. Three years into our business, my friend and co-founder passed away. It took me a long time to get back on my feet, but since then I have changed the strategic focus of the company, launched a new website, started CBG-TV, a dedicated YouTube Channel, and written a unique recovery guide for women that I am currently looking for sponsors or partners to help publish/distribute.

I am at a cross-roads. My goal is to monetize the business through advertising revenue. Sales and business development is not my area of expertise. I have held off pursuing a partner because I want a strategic partner. Should I now look for a partner, take out a bridge loan to hire someone, or are there additional options? Please advise! 

Joe Emison Chief Information Officer at Xceligent

February 15th, 2016

My experience is that you can't replace a co-founder, and you shouldn't hire anyone into a co-equal position.

If you set your bar at, "I need someone who is going to be my partner and contribute strategically and whom I want to treat as an equal in the business", you are going to have a really hard time finding someone you're willing to hire, and the chance that you'll be disappointed after hiring is a near certainty.

Your better option here is to decide what your business needs (sounds like monetization through advertising) and then execute on that (potentially retaining a contractor, since you'll want to test first, and you can almost certainly test better with a consultant/contractor... also easier to find higher quality when hiring firms than individuals).

It also sounds like you're looking for some mentorship/advising help, which is something you should pursue separately--there should be good resources in your community?

Brad Casper Executive Chairman at Owens Harkey

February 15th, 2016

I will come at your challenge and question in a different way.  My hunch is that you may not need another partner, but need to be introduced to existing people and organizations that share your vision, mission, and passion.

Go out to the Personal Care Products Council website.  It's an industry association based in Washington.  Then, click on the link to Look Good...Feel Better, which is dedicated to making women with cancer feel pretty and proud. They have been doing remarkable work for years.  Perhaps you will find funding or collaboration that achieves your end result.

Wendy Jameson Co-Founder & CEO at Colnatec

February 15th, 2016

Rather than just take our advice, I highly recommend sitting down with a business coach or mentor to talk it out before you take action. These are complicated questions, ones that have deep legal and emotional ramifications. I don't think I could suggest an option one way or another without knowing a lot more about your goals, current funding, how you work, etc. You will come to the conclusion eventually and on your own if provided a good active listener who doesn't try to tell you what to do. Best wishes...I love your concept!

Rob G

February 15th, 2016

as a side note, there are benefits to having a partner/cofounder beyond just dividing the workload.  In both good and bad times it's invaluable having someone on board who is/can walk in your same shoes.  

Lotfi Belkhir Associate Professor & Chair of Eco-Entrepreneurship at McMaster University

February 15th, 2016

I'd say you need at least one partner and two would be better. However, the key factor is that you need a missionary like yourself, and not a mercenary looking for a quick payout. You're clearly deeply invested in so many ways in this venture and you need someone who's willing to show a comparable level of commitment. It won't be easy to find, but if you do, your chances of success will be orders of magnitude greater. Good luck!

Rob G

February 15th, 2016

I say the most important factor is to keep moving the ball forward every day.  I would not take out a loan to pay someone.  Where there's a will there's a way. Find a way.  Keep looking for that co-founder, but don't let progress stop in the interim.  keep moving forward each day. If there is work to be done that you cannot do yourself you can consider outsourcing it at a cost that is manageable.  At some point you will likely be past the 'co-founder' stage - product/MVP built and you are gaining more and more traction each month, preferably revenue and you can use that revenue or funding to then hire people to take over some of the heavy lifting. 

Lou Diamond President & CEO of FOBIA

February 15th, 2016

Never an easy challenge, especially since you're connected and tied to this cause, your first partner in this endeavor and ending his dreadful disease.  Kudos to you for picking the ball back up and getting to this point where you KNOW you need help.  

The previous comments all bring up very important points. I'd like to add that I believe you don't need another business partner -- you've brought the business to this point over the past few years on your own.  I believe you could use some strategic advice and some capable marketers that you could add to your team.  

James Cowen CEO

February 15th, 2016

Without duplicating the comments already made, I would say you need to find someone equally passionate for the long-haul, someone who is not looking for a quick payout.  
Can the business be monetarized or would it be better served becoming a true nonprofit so you could accept donations and foster information flow?
From my own standpoint, I would consider adding CBG if it is a nonprofit as I support a number of nonprofits through the Diecasm platform.

Neil HereWeAre Want To find-close Business Online without competition Before They Google Search? We solve this problem 1(508)-481-8567

February 15th, 2016

Lisa, you may not need a partner, you most like need the right "consultant-representative" with the right the marketing/sales skills.

You are way ahead of the game because you have admitted that you are not a sales person, thatstrue. I can tell because you have predetermined that you want to go get advertising as your monetizing scheme.

Frankly-WHY did you select that? Please dont do that. You are not ready for nor positioned for that being a logical revenue source.- You have no customers nor any large following yet that advertisers would need to see before they even considered investing ad money with you.

Instead, I'd suggest finding a great consultant who knows how to deeply understand what you have now, what you want to accomplish and can then find the appropriate target audiences for doing all of this, those who will pay for what you have, pay an annual subscription directly, not advertising.

Doing that first gets you the gigantic following, membership, audience upfront, earns cash upfront but then can be "sold" as a place for folks who want to reach your audience must go.

You cant sell from an empty store so to speak and your store is empty re its natural market following-connection-loyal "customers'.

Thats also researching beforehand to uncover the correct audiences, who they are, how to reach them where they hang out and get them to say "hey-thats me-I need to connect with, buy and use Lisa's stuff. 

Hamid Farzaneh CEO and Co-Founder at Alea Labs, Inc.

February 15th, 2016

Hi Lisa, I've been there and I recommend you finding a co-founder with whom you have strong philosophical agreement as to the fundamental objectives (including possible exits and sharing of the pains/rewards) as well as excellent personal chemistry. Finding such partner is difficult but worth a ton of gold. Unless you have ample cash, hiring might not give you the level of commitment you need. Sent from my Phone