Finding a Co-Founder for Your RIA Firm

Your career goal might be to found your own financial advisory firm.  

The technical aspects of starting a business can be a challenge — from picking a name to covering the startup costs to finding clients to developing an effective marketing strategy — but sometimes the most difficult part can be finding the right support.  

Someone who’s in the trenches with you. Someone to celebrate the highs and commiserate the lows with. Someone who’s just as invested in the business and determined to succeed.  

In other words, a co-founder.

Katie Burke and I (Bridget Grimes) run our own financial advisory firms, WealthChoice and Method Financial Planning, but we are co-founders of Equita Financial Network. Katie and I work so well together as co-founders because of our shared vision, passion for our work, and work styles.

So what should you keep in mind when you’re looking for a co-founder?

What to Look for in a Co-Founder

Harvard Business Review has a great list of qualities you should be mindful of:  

  1. A complementary temperament. Find someone who will fill in the gaps around your personality strengths so there’s a balance.
  2. Different operational skills. Are you better at business development? Is project management an area of weakness for you? Find a co-founder who has different strengths.
  3. Similar work habits. Katie is on the East Coast and I’m on the West Coast, but we still work well together because we have the same expectations on work-life balance.
  4. Self-sufficiency. It’s important to be reliable and self-sufficient as a co-founder.
  5. A history of working together. Katie and I knew each other in business before starting Equita. As Harvard Business Review says, “a long-term relationship can help you leapfrog the learning curve of the close collaboration, which can sometimes take years to develop.”
  6. Emotional buoyancy. There will hard times as a co-founder — whether it’s in your personal life or in your business. It’s important to have a co-founder who can be a buoy for you during trying times. 
  7. Total honesty. Even though it will be tough to hear at times, you need a co-founder who will be completely honest with you.
  8. Comfort in her own skin. When you both are confident and know yourselves well, this will reduce arguments about roles and responsibilities. 
  9. A personality you like. Sometimes, you’ll be spending more time with your co-founder than your spouse or partner. It’s important to like and appreciate the person you’re founding a business with. 
  10. The same overall vision. For a business to succeed, you should have the same motivations and vision.

50 Places to Find a Co-Founder

So how can you find a co-founder? Inc. provides 50 ideas of where to find a co-founder, such as former co-workers, at meet-ups, through mutual introductions, by taking a class, or by volunteering. We encourage you to take a look at the list and think about which options and outlets make sense for you to tap when searching for your own co-founder.  

What should you do if you find a co-founder you didn’t know previously? Take time to build the relationship and ask them key questions, such as “How many hours/week are you willing to work?,” “What would you want your role to be?,” or “What impact do you want to have?” Also  consider asking for professional references to see if they are a good fit.

Don’t Want a Co-Founder? Find an Accountability Partner

What if you don’t want a co-founder, but you still want support? Consider getting an accountability partner — someone who helps you stay on track and reach your business goals.

Equita Financial Network is made up of women financial planners who run their own businesses throughout the country — in Pennsylvania, California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Tennessee. Joining our network is a great place to find the support and community you need to reach your goals. Reach out to our team today to learn more. 

Privacy Notice

We recognize the importance of protecting our clients’ privacy. We have policies to maintain the confidentiality and security of your nonpublic personal information. The following is designed to help you understand what information we collect from you and how we use that information to serve your account.

Categories of Information We May Collect

In the normal course of business, we may collect the following types of information:

  • Information you provide in the subscription documents and other forms (including name, address, social security number, date of birth, income and other financial-related information); and
  • Data about your transactions with us (such as the types of investments you have made and your account status).

How We Use Your Information That We Collect

Any and all nonpublic personal information that we receive with respect to our clients who are natural persons is not shared with nonaffiliated third parties which are not service providers to us without prior notice to, and consent of, such clients, unless otherwise required by law. In the normal course of business, we may disclose the kinds of nonpublic personal information listed above to nonaffiliated third-party service providers involved in servicing and administering products and services on our behalf. Our service providers include, but are not limited to, our administrator, our auditors and our legal advisor. Additionally, we may disclose such nonpublic personal information as required by law (such as to respond to a subpoena) or to satisfy a request from a regulator and/or to prevent fraud. Without limiting the foregoing, we may disclose nonpublic personal information about you to governmental entities and others in connection with meeting our obligations to prevent money laundering including, without limitation, the disclosure that may be required by the Uniting and Strengthening America Act by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001 and the regulations promulgated thereunder. In addition, if we choose to dispose of our clients’ nonpublic personal information that we are not legally bound to maintain, we will do so in a manner that reasonably protects such information from unauthorized access. The same privacy policy also applies to former clients who are natural persons.

Confidentiality and Security

We restrict access to nonpublic personal information about our clients to those employees and agents who need to know that information to provide products and services to our clients. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect our clients’ nonpublic personal information. We respect and value that you have entrusted us with your private financial information, and we will work diligently to maintain that trust. We are committed to preserving that trust by respecting your privacy as provided herein.