Debunking The Myth of Working for a Startup

As featured in Franchising USA

by Michelle Joseph, CEO of PeopleFoundry

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There is a fear of working for a startup because of the inherent risks and unforeseen future of the company. It is no secret that early stage companies often have lower pay, less job security and more turnover than larger corporations.
Yet, despite the skepticism of being ‘risky,’ there are aspects to study and many positives to be considered.

Michelle Joseph, CEO of PeopleFoundry, delves into the misconceptions of working for startups, and sheds light on the benefits of doing so.

The Role You Will Play
Often times when joining an established company, there will be a pre-designed position with set tasks. While startup
companies will also have specific projects to be done, they will more likely give milestones to achieve in a given time period. One of the benefits of a startup is this inherent opportunity to create your own destiny and shape your position within the company. There are many openings to excel in areas you might not have otherwise had an opportunity to be exposed to in a more corporate setting.
To be successful at startups and newer companies, versatility is required. By tackling a wide range of tasks and contributing to other roles, one can really expand their boundaries and abilities, which every company loves to see. Be sure to clarify what roles you are responsible for as well as identify opportunities to grow with the company. By doing this, the employee will become an invaluable asset to the company and also add strength and experience to their own tool belt.
Established Leaders
One of the best ways to decipher the future is to look into the past. Since a startup has little past, examine the leaders and founders. If their track record(s) shows past successes, then you can restore your confidence. If this is their first venture, ensure the goals and aspirations are realistic and align with your own. Also, bear in mind the field that the leaders were apart of prior to this fresh start. While not a guarantee for success, there is a positive correlation that a strong past in a particular industry will lead to a bright future. The simple act of doing this research can set one’s mind at ease and give confidence that this is the right company for you.
Furthermore, the opportunity to work side by side with the C-Level Executive of a company when you first step into a job can be extremely valuable. This is an opportunity that is unique to a startup or small business and can play a large role in success at not only this company but also in future endeavors as well. There is a lot to be said for working alongside a leader in a flatter organization rather than climbing the corporate ladder.
Turnover Rate
It’s safe to assume that an established company is moving in the right direction with little to no turnover rate. With startups it is a bit different. Not everyone has the pioneering spirit that startups require yet the idea of joining them does look attractive. After some time passes, here are people who learn that a nonstructured environment and burning the midnight oil is just not the right fit for them. There is an extreme to watch out for with startups that have high turnover rates. On the other hand, if the retention rate of employees is high then the culture and the growth of the company are going in the right direction. This high retention and strong culture can often be positively correlated to its employees having bought in to the culture and company values. Being fully nvested in a company creates a drive to succeed that is not seen when there is an indifference to industry goals. One of the knocks on working for a new company is that longer hours and a larger workload are expected – this is a given! However, when one is fully invested in the vision and goal that the founders have created, the work is rewarding and there is a goal that everyone is working together to achieve that will be very fulfilling.
Room to Grow
Startups offer the opportunity for every employee to see their impact on the company’s growth. Individual
contributions to a business are more transparent in startup environments; there is nowhere to hide and teams are run lean. With this natural positioning, it is only natural for those who positively contribute to be rewarded for it – promotions and future leadership opportunities can likely come at a faster pace and more readily in startups. Organically becoming a leader at a business you have grown yourself – looks good on everything you do.

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