I started to look for competent co-founders outside my area, but how would you manage trust and collaboration on the company intelligence? I mean it will be difficult to do anything about it, if we collaborate and the co-founder gets access to enough valuable data and business insight and disappears?
Any recommendations on how to avoid common mistakes?
That's a tough decision, gaining people trust is not easy. We can't decide on few meetings that who's gonna stay or who will leave.
Getting a co-founder is like marrying someone. Some marriage last longer and other not. So, I use following approach:
What I found, generally people tends to hide their weakness and failure. But when you behave authentically with an open mind attitude, most of people start trusting you.
I assume you mean outside your geographical area and not talent area. The simple answer is that you should not have a co-founder you do not spend face-time with. You might attract a co-founder who lives in another city, but part of the decision is whether you will relocate there or they will relocate where you are. The interaction dynamic is too critically important to attempt a virtual presence. Even daily meetings on Skype or whatever are wholly inadequate.
The founders are the bedrock of the business. You need to be able to lean over each other's shoulder, to listen to conversations they're having on the phone on the other side of the office, to observe their body language, and to keep each other motivated to continuously put forth effort.
It's not secret sauce. You simply have to be proximate to your co-founder, because you feed each other inspiration hourly and keep each other motivated. You will learn massively more about working with someone in a close space than you ever could at a distance. There is no excuse for working separately when you're building something. Even if you're working on different things, you need to see each other at work doing things.