According to the US Small Business Administration, there are 28.8 million small businesses and startups in the United States, employing over 56.8 million individuals. Startups are the modern stepping stones to multi-billion-dollar companies.
In fact, the most dominant players in the international business arena have humble beginnings as startups.
More and more job seekers are looking to startups for employment opportunities. Joining a startup is a lucrative and exciting new way to make a living. The trouble is, startups come in many different sizes and forms. It may be a bit unclear what to expect as an employee.
Are you thinking of working for a startup? Here a few things you need to know before you get started.
It Is a Unique Working Experience
Startups are famous for pulling off exciting, and sometimes strange, workplace environments. Bizarre furniture, gaming rooms, lack of a dress code and exotic catering are just some standard features of a startup workplace.
Such a stimulating workplace may come as a surprise, especially if you’ve worked for a corporate organization before. However, it all makes sense as an effort to attract millennials to the workplace, encourage out-of-the-box thinking, and to nurture and grow creativity among the workers.
This may be why over 44% of college graduates would prefer to work in a startup. The progressive environment appeals to young people’s lifestyle and interests.
Besides the nature of the workplace, other features unique to most startups include odd working hours, salary overpays or underpays, and unstructured benefits. Prepare for a unique and unusual experience when working with a startup.
You Need to Be Ready and Comfortable with Change
After launch, a startups’ administration often struggles in putting together the desired business structure and allocating employees’ roles. This means that lots of changes are continually made both physically on the premise and in the human resource department.
Your job description could change at any moment, or you could be relocated to a new office or a different building altogether. Even working hours and roles can change drastically with no warning. Nothing really is set in stone during the early stages of a startup.
As an employee, you need to be ready and comfortable with these changes. Be flexible and roll with the tides. After a while, of course, everything settles down once a sustainable environment and structure have been established.
Assess the Risks When Working for a Startup
According to startup statistics, about 90% of startups fail in their first few years. It is a sad and discouraging prospect to think of startups as risky employment opportunities, but that is the fact. It is your responsibility to assess the inherent risks involved with startup employment.
As an employee of a startup, be on the lookout for land mines and don’t ignore any red flags. Call out any risks and ensure they are taken care of. Involvement in the success of a startup may kick start your career to new heights and cement your relationship with the founders.
Ensure that your job description aligns with your career objectives.
It Is Your Responsibility to Build the Business Culture.
As one of the fresh members of a startup, it is partly your role to define the work culture of the business. Every startup has a theme, a brand message, or a unique idea; these should be the foundation on which to cultivate a rich and engaging business culture.
While working closely with a group of people, there need to be some ground rules and a structure to dictate the work relationships, interactions, and daily operations. The first team of workers set the rhythm to motivate growth, collaboration, and productivity.
Before joining an already established startup, ask about the work culture. See if you like how it sounds before signing up. As we said, startups can be a bit strange, even borderline weird. So make sure you agree with what they stand for, and how they conduct their business.
You Need to be a Team Player
It is hard work for a startup to bring a new product or service to an uncertain market. As such, the business needs all hands on deck at all times to see to the success of the venture. You may need to work long hours on odd tasks to fulfill your share of responsibilities.
More importantly, you need to work cohesively as a team. Although everyone may have different roles and titles, don’t shy away from helping others even in mundane and challenging tasks. Don’t say, “That’s not my job!” Focus on the overall goals of the startup instead of individual achievements.
Startups are well stocked with eager, self-driven employees who quickly alienate those who are not part of the team. Remember, the success of the startup depends on the overall success of the group.
Transparency Is Key
The administration set up and the hierarchy of most startups are no well defined, leaving the employees with minimal supervision. In such a situation, transparency and honesty are critical in building trust, especially if you happen to land an executive role.
Lack of trust among employees, shareholders, and founders is a sure sign of a failing business. Conduct your role with transparency and don’t be afraid to blow the whistle if something goes wrong. Being a startup is a critical stage for any business; even minor mistrusts are capable of severe damage.
Make Sure You Qualify for the Job.
Startups may often overlook specific qualifications in a rush to quickly assemble their workforce. Some employees slip through without enough scrutiny only to be overwhelmed by the workload. This comes off as incompetence. Apply for a position with which you are familiar and comfortable.
Also, ensure you have all your certification in order. Find out more about this certification business in your career field. Some startups will not hire employees without proper employee recognition, certification, and proof of qualification.
Working for a startup is risky, but it may turn out to be the boost that your career needs. Well, at least now you know what to prepare for. Be a team member, put in some hard work, expect a strange work environment, and keep an eye out for changes.
Although statically only 10% of startups make it all the way, only subtle difference set them apart from the rest. Play your role, and you might be building the next business empire.
Keep reading our business articles for more informative pieces on trend-shifting ideas, business news, and innovations.