First of all if you are thinking about working in a start up because of a potential large pay day, then it probably isn’t right for you!
Working at a start-up is something else and tends to offer very different challenges to most jobs. Start-ups are in an exciting stage of development and you will be in the thick of it. There will be fewer employees and you will have greater responsibility.
If you join straight after university then working at a start-up will provide you with great experience, well as long as you have the right attitude that is. Working at a start-up is certainly more of a viable option in your early working years when you tend not to have much work experience or a family to look after.
If you are joining a start-up after years of experience then you will still be able to experience something different, probably a much faster paced and growing like crazy atmosphere. Managers in start ups are also much more open to new ideas and changes in the company are much easier to make while the company is smaller.
So what traits will you need to succeed in a start-up?
First of all you should be Self Motivated; you will be expected to deliver. At first you will get lots of help and teams are closer together, communication is better, but you will be expected to contribute very quickly so that leads me on to my next two points.
Organised and Quick Learner: You will be helped by your colleagues but you will have to learn quickly, pick up processes, tools used at the company and trends affecting the company. Start-ups need to grow rapidly, try gain market share and tend to have limited funds so staying ahead of the game is crucial. You must be able to spot this and not rely on others, don’t be afraid to express your ideas. Write stuff down, make use of post it notes, calendars etc... You must stay on top of your work and meet deadlines, what you do will have a bigger impact in a small company and everything you do will be noticed.
Friendly and Sociable: There is no point in making enemies here, you will need to get on with everyone and considering there may only be a few employees you won’t be able to hide. Be friendly, talk to everyone in the company, you may even be working side by side with the CEO so make sure you are affable, the last thing the CEO wants is someone who is causing rifts in the company. Start-ups normally are a small tight-knit group of people and know that they will have to work collectively to be successful.
Ambitious: You will need to fit into the inevitable ambitious company spirit; you will most likely be working with many entrepreneurial types. The company will be looking forward to a bigger future and so must you.
Hard Worker: You will get a lot of work and will need to make sure you can manage it, if you are having problems with a task then find out how to complete it, ask someone, Google it, find a book that will help you, be proactive.
Working at a start-up will be challenging but as well as experiencing big problems first hand (which you can learn a lot from) you will experience the highs that come in a growing start-up which will feel even more of an achievement being in a small company.
Remember you may not get a massive benefits package or taxis to and from work, free phone or staff cafeteria but you get different benefits.
Start-ups tend to have more of a focus on the employees, working for a start-up myself I know this first hand. Free lunches on Wednesdays, breakfast provided each morning, free sodas, Playstation and sofa in the games room! Ok not all start ups are like this but the emphasis on providing a good atmosphere for employees is consistent. Having a hard working yet fun loving motivated team is key to building a striving start-up. The especially fun yet hard working vibe of a start-up is hard to find in the corporate world, although it does exist.
If you are one of those who would like to start up your own company at some point in your life then working at a start-up provides a great insight to what it would be like and what challenges you may face. It will provide with some great experience.
So is it right for you?
Let me know what you think in the comments!