If I told you that you were more likely to get split up with your co-founder than get a divorce, would you believe me? A Harvard Business school professor studied 10,000 companies and found that 65% of businesses failed because of co-founder conflicts. By the numbers, it can seem like having a co-founder is pretty risky in the first place. So what makes the risk worth it? The right partnership will make you more successful and more fulfilled (in our completely biased opinion) than a solo experience. Successes and struggles are always so much better to experience when you’re not alone.
As in any other part of life, every relationship is different. You and your co-founder will undoubtedly have your own set of challenges and opportunities to grow stronger. That said, a lot of them will likely spring from the same core problem: bad communication. So how do you mitigate against that?
My HeyMama co-founder Amri Kibbler and I see a direct correlation between the time we spend together outside the office and how it affects our energy exchange and alignment when we’re at work. When we connect one-on-one on a human level, that connection carries over when we’re back at our desks. And I’m not just talking about some old-fashion girl time (although everyone should make time for that too) — when Amri and I go offline together, it’s to throw ourselves into crucial, high-level, big-picture, magic-making time. It’s when we get the cold pressed version of brain juice that we normally can’t squeeze out amid the distractions of our regular workdays.
For the last 3 years, Amri and I have taken time for an annual co-founder “workcation” retreat. This yearly experience is so powerful for us. And because so much of our business is rooted in our relationships with our daughters — who were born just a week apart, so they’re as close as Amri and I are — we bring them along too. (It’s their favorite week out of the entire year, naturally.)
For this year’s retreat, we chose the absolutely stunning Four Seasons in Wailea, Maui as the place to connect, and honestly I don’t think we have ever made a better choice for the site of this invaluable time together. The property had everything we could ask for — kid’s clubs and activities to keep the girls busy to delicious food and incredible service to make the stay even more effortless and elevated. The Four Seasons resort allowed us to really relax in ways that allowed us to truly focus on our time together as co-founders and best friends.
The investment we make each year in this retreat together is core to both our business and personal relationship, and I can’t recommend it for co-founder teams strongly enough.
A co-founder retreat could be the difference between a powerful, well-rounded relationship between two whole humans and one that is purely business. And when you’re a founder, and you work as long and hard as we do, it’s much nicer to do that next to someone you have a real human connection with.
Knowing your co-founder on a personal level and building (and rebuilding) your connection will pay off over and over again as your business faces challenges.
When you get the other mastermind and visionary of your business to be distraction free alongside you for a few days, you get access to the pure, white-hot mental focus that can be nearly impossible to create space for back in the real world.
A co-founder retreat could be the difference between a powerful, well-rounded relationship between two whole humans and one that is purely business.