In a working-world that is constantly adjusting, there’s one thing above all that start-ups have the upper-hand on – a capacity to rapidly adapt their plans and processes, to best suit consumer behaviour and demand.
Whilst taking that leap of faith to join a start-up can seem exciting to many, to others it can be a daunting consideration, with a fear of the unknown stopping candidates from giving start-up positions a second thought. It is worth remembering that each and every company out there today - whether it be the Google’s or the Tesla’s of the world, once began their journey as a startup in some way. Getting in there early can provide you with an array of exciting and rare opportunities throughout the rest of your career.
So if you’re considering what’s next for your career, here are 5 reasons why a start-up role might be exactly what you’re looking for:
Start-ups typically begin with a small and close-knit team, which provides the business with the fundamentals it needs to launch with momentum. Whilst this doesn’t come without challenges, and a high-level of determination and persistence is required, getting in during the early stages will only advance your reputation within the company - should it succeed.
This offers a unique chance for you to diversify your skillset, whilst simultaneously climbing the business ladder as the company expands. You’re automatically a key player in the business when you join at pre-IPO stage, meaning your skill set and contribution to the bottom line will be witnessed by senior stakeholders that can fast-track your career.
Think also about what this position could do for you outside of this company – how will your experience look to future employers, having worked closely with CEOs or partners? Working for a start-up not only provides opportunity during the here and now, but is something that will bring value in the future too.
Whilst the experiences you gain working for a start-up are unmatched, the monetary benefits are also not to be ignored. A common reservation around joining a start-up is “What if it doesn’t work?”, "Am I putting my career in jeopardy?”. This is just one of the reasons why we advise candidates to join a start-up venture that they personally believe in. If you are passionate about the product you are helping to launch, you will work harder to achieve the goals required and feel more committed rather than concerned. It’s also worth confirming whether the company has been backed by a VC or PE firm, as this is a strong indicator that the business is tipped for success.
If the company does prosper, the long-term advantages include the sharing of business profits – and between a much smaller team than a regular business. This could mean a rapid increase in salary, promotion to a more senior position, or the option to invest within the company at a much more desirable rate. Start-ups are known to offer employee equity as a method of attracting the top talent pools, as well as providing big pay-outs to employees when IPO is made.
To put the growth possibilities of a start-up into perspective, Revolut - one of the UK’s leading challenger banks - launched in 2015 and was recently valued at $33b. It’s now intended to fund further product development and expand marketing efforts, particularly in the US and India; the six-year-old company is now worth over six times more than it was valued at in 2020.
The way businesses are expected to run has drastically changed, with the traditional '9 to 5 in the office’ policy now regarded as unattractive and archaic to many candidates. Whilst flexibility was once seen as a nice to have, it has now become a deciding factor when applying for, or accepting, a job.
The great thing about start-ups is that flexible working conditions are integral to their model, with remote working keeping their costs low and flexi-hours meaning progress is being made around the clock.
If you prefer a more adaptable way of working, a start-up will more likely work around you and your preferred conditions to achieve your maximum output, with less of a concern regarding tracking your hours than the more corporate businesses.
Life working for a start-up is busy, fast-paced and requires a great level of self-motivation. Although a highly collaborative environment, teams are often all working on different aspects of a product launch independently, meaning a lot of time will be spent without supervision from senior managers. The result? You have the ability to operate and manage your area of the business: bringing in new ideas, implementing them and being able to take full credit when these ideas yield success. With guidance from your superiors, you can be steered on what needs to be achieved, but unlike a traditional corporate role, it is ultimately down to you to make your plans work effectively with the rest of the team.
Working for a pre-IPO business also provides you with a direct line to leadership, where you can to influencing on business strategy. You wont simply be a small cog within a big machine your impact on the company is far greater.
You’re encouraged not only to implement your skills, but also to put forward your vision of how you think the business should be run when it comes to your business area. Start-ups require fast decision making, so you can expect to experience far less red tape than you would within a corporate business.
Whilst you will have your personal areas of expertise, working within a small team means there will be an expectation to explore beyond the realm of your particular skillset. This is an ideal training opportunity to learn from other team members, and hone in your problem-solving skills as you’re exposed to new business issues..
What’s more, you’ll witness first-hand how each of the areas of the business works together, collaborating and working closely with the top management, who can share significant business development knowledge and experience to help you chase your career goals. You will be learning from the best.
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