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What to know before Working for a Startup?

In this corporate age there are numerous startup companies which are coming up each day. Every startup company is different in its own way and offers employees various opportunities and exposure. If you are someone who is also intrigued by the prospect of joining a startup company then you should go ahead and start working for one. Yet before you can work for a startup company, there are some vital things which you need to keep in mind. You should be sure to take your decision only after carefully weighing all the pros and cons.

Important Things to Consider Before Working for a Startup:

1. There is no standard manner in which employees are interviewed:

When thinking of joining a startup company you ought to know that employees can be interviewed in any way. Unlike for big corporate houses where there are more or less standard procedures in which things are done, in startup companies recruitment and hiring can be done in any way. So you should be prepared for this as your interview might entail simply a few questions over the phone or on the other end of the spectrum it might be a face to face interview that lasts for over an hour to ensure that each employee taken on board is someone perfect for the job.

2. The hiring process moves along incredibly swiftly:

In this day and age, time and money are both incredibly valuable resources and no one intends on wasting it. So when you are thinking of joining a startup company, negotiating your job offer is a vital step , however at the same time you must ensure that the negotiation process does not go on for an endless amount of time. After all, there is some truth in the common saying ‘time kills the deal’. Be sure to keep in mind the fact that negotiation involves three steps, first the company putting forth their offer, then you placing your conditions and finally they telling you if they agree or not.

3. Ensure that you have some information about the company:

Before you can even think of working for any particular startup company, it is absolutely vital for you to know what the company does, who are the founders of the company and the reputation which the company has. You can know this information on internet very easily, so if you find that the company does not even have a proper website then you ought to stay out of it. However at the same time, one thing to remember is that startup companies do not have much money at their disposal and just because they don’t maintain a proper website, doesn’t mean they are a phony company.

4. You will be required to work on a project to show what you are capable of:

Startup companies do not like to hire many people on board and they ensure that the people they do hire are talented as well as smart individuals. So be prepared for the fact that you might have to prove your abilities by working on an assignment on the project. If they find that your work is good then they are sure to hire you on board. In this day and age, it is not merely enough to have book or theoretical knowledge. You have to know how to apply what you have learnt and be able to put it into practice as well.

5. Work hours will be highly unpredictable:

If you are someone who wants to maintain a strict work life balance, then maybe working in a startup company is not meant for you. Once you have joined a startup company you will be required to invest all your energies in trying to get the company off the ground. If you are someone who knows that having a career is an important thing, but your primary focus is your family, then you should not consider joining this kind of company. You should only be a part of a startup company if you are an extremely career driven person whose number one priority will always be your work alone.

6. Salary will not be very high as opposed to corporate giants:

When you work in a startup company you will be learning a great deal about the business world and at the same time you will also be gaining a lot of exposure, yet besides these positive things, one major drawback you must consider is that your salary will be much less as opposed to what you might have been getting in a corporate company. As much as we say that money isn’t important and it isn’t the be all and end all of life, but it surely an indispensable part of our lives which we simply cannot do without, in order to survive.

7. Chances are you will not receive other benefits as well:

Chances are that while working for a startup company you will not receive the benefits which you would have been receiving in a regular corporate jobs. Take for example, things like a pick up and drop facility, medical insurance for yourself as well as your family members, rent, accommodation etc are things which are part and parcel of working in a corporate company. Yet you should not expect even these basic benefits when joining a startup company as chances are that it is unlikely that you will receive them. So think about this before you think of working in a startup company.

8. Find out if the offer comes with equity:

One of the best parts of working in a startup company which you need to be aware of is that you are bound to receive equity compensation. Anyone who has some knowledge about the business world knows that there are primarily two kinds of equity, Restricted Stock Units and Incentive Stock Options. The term has its roots in accountancy and pertains to a kind of security or a kind of stock which represents, the owners interest. So when and if you join the company, inquire about the kind of equity grant you will receive.

9. Then get to know how much that equity is worth:

It is vital to know that the value of your equity is likely to be directly proportionate to the value of the company. Remember that deciding to be a part of a startup company is a decision which you should take all on your own. Just because the value of your equity sounds like a lot, it does not imply that it will actually be a great sum. So before you do decide to work for this kind of company, ensure that you ask around and do all your homework.

10. Realize that you will have the benefit of customizing your benefits:

One positive thing which you need to know when you are considering working for a start up is that you get the opportunity of customizing your benefits. Since the company will be unable to offer you anything great monetarily, you can make up for this by asking them to provide you with benefits of other kinds. As mentioned above, an incentive for you to work hard towards building the company is the equity you will be getting but on the other hand you can get other benefits as well, such as the opportunity to get paid sick leave, a paid vacation or even the option to telecommute.

11. Chances are that there will be no retirement age:

One of the added benefits of working in any startup company is that there is generally no retirement age, so you need not worry at all. One major drawback of working in a corporate giant is that no matter what, you will have to retire as soon as you reach the age of sixty. Yet, if you work for a startup company and give your hundred percent to help building it up then chances are that you will certainly be kept on because you have established yourself as an indispensable part of the company.

12. There is no scope for making even the smallest of errors:

One thing which you must ensure that you know when joining a startup company is that there will be no scope for you to make even the smallest of errors. When you work at a big company then chances are that there is a little room for error because at least you have the brand name to fall back. But in startup companies, they have to try and give every project their best shot under any circumstances. If you make mistakes, be prepared to be pulled up for it, so if this is something which you are not okay with, then it is better that you do not join a startup company.

13. You will have to be self sufficient at all times:

If you are not self sufficient then you cannot expect to survive in a startup company. It is of paramount importance to find out solutions to problems all on your own, because you will not be having many resources at your disposal. However in the event of not knowing what to do, you can always consult your team members who will guide you along the way and help you. Since there are such few team members, chances are that you will always be a close knit group who have a pleasurable time together.

14. You must be prepared for failure which is quite a possibility:

Working in a startup company is a risky thing indeed, sometimes no matter how hard the team works and how much effort they put into what they do, the company is just unable to take off. Most of the startup companies which have so much promise and potential end up in failure due to a number of reasons as in this day and age remaining a relevant part of today’s twenty first century business world is a tough task.

15. Things are going to be very flexible and often even volatile:

When working in a startup company, one thing which you must know is that there are no hard and fast rules about anything, because chances are that everything is being done for the very first time. So to not have any problems in the time to come it is absolutely vital for you to be open as well as receptive to change.

16. Do not think that the atmosphere is going to be very laid back:

Contrary to what you might think when working at a startup company, things are not going to be as laid back as it is often perceived by the outside world to be. In order for a company to succeed it takes a great deal of hard work as well as endless hours of effort.

17. The startup company will lack the structure of a regular organization:

One important thing which you need to know when you start working at a startup company is that you ought not to expect the structure of a regular company. Have no pre conceived notions about what you want and then things are sure to work out well for you.

So these are some of the things which you need to know before you start working for a startup company. There are many people who find the chance of being a part of a startup company very novel but at the same time there are also those who find it very tough to function without the structure of a regular company. So at the end of the day you should do what you love doing and always have your own interests at heart. Never take a decision based on what other people want you to do, if you love your job it will never feel like a burden to you.



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