In my last column, I listed 10 realities of working for a startup. They may have struck some people as frank but a tad discouraging.
To provide the other side, here are 10 reasons why working for a startup can be exciting.
1. The satisfaction of building something new that can make a difference.
It can be tremendously rewarding to create a product or service that meets a need or addresses an existing problem in a new and different way.
2. Be a big fish in a small pond, rather than just a cog in a giant wheel.
At a startup, it can be easy to make a difference because there are only a small number of people working to create and grow the business. Rather than being an anonymous, cubicle-dwelling worker bee, you can make a difference.
3. There are opportunities for financial rewards.
In the last column, I talked about how you’re likely not going to have enough equity or stock options to retire if a startup is acquired. The upside is a chance the shares or stock options granted by a startup have the potential to be worth a lot of money.
4. Work flexibility.
Startups are not 9-to-5 operations and the hours are long, but there can be flexibility to work different hours and in different places. At the end of the day, startups are all about getting the work done so there is not as much pressure for it to happen at a certain place and time.
Let’s face it; working for a startup is a lot cooler than working for a large business. It suggests you have an appetite for risk and a willingness to create something; working at a large company suggests you’re looking for stability and predictability.
Given startups tend to be lean and mean these days, many employees have to do different jobs. If you believe variety is the spice of life, working for a startup is the way to go.
7. Great experience.
Working for a startup offers tremendous professional and personal experience and education. Even if you end up working for a large company, you will bring a different perspective and skill set that will continue to be a huge benefit.
8. Be part of a tight-knit community.
There is competition but there is also a sense of all-for-one and one-for-all among startups. That means there can be a lot of collaboration and co-operation among people working for other startups.
9. It’s easy to be friends with the CEO.
In many respects, the chief executive officer may be a contemporary rather than a seasoned executive who works in a corner office or an executive suite. As a result, it easy to hang out with the CEO and, if needed, provide feedback and suggestions in an informal way. Who knows, you might even get to become CEO one day, given that there are fewer management layers.
10. It’s fun.
You work hard but you also hang out with smart and like-minded people who have the same go-for-it mentality and an aversion to going corporate. While you may not know what is around the corner, that is what makes startups so interesting.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Mark Evans is the principal with ME Consulting, a communications and marketing strategic consultancy that works with startups and fast-growing companies to create compelling and effective messaging to drive their sales and marketing activities. Mark has worked with four startups – Blanketware, b5Media, PlanetEye and Sysomos. He was a technology reporter for more than a decade with The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News and the Financial Post. Mark is also one of the co-organizers of the mesh, meshmarketing and meshwest conferences.
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