- The stage of the startup can influence the roles available. Generally, company growth can be split into a handful of stages — early, growth, and maturity. Early-stage companies are still figuring out product-market fit. They can change direction very quickly. Growth-stage companies are starting to optimize for scale. Here, roles are less “wear many hats” and more “this particular hat”. Mature companies go even finer with roles (sub-functions). As a prospect considers a role at a company, s/he needs to realize the agility that may be required. After all, most folks who ask about startups mention their interest to do many things.
- How much funding has been raised — number of raises, how much, how many investors. Investors are pouring money into some companies to get in on potentially lucrative gains. Venture capitalists (VCs) are hoping to make up for that one big win in 20 companies invested to cover the fund and make significant returns. The more money, the more rounds of raise, the more investors mean the more pressure and expectations there are for timely returns. This pressure is put onto the executive team which will continue to flow down to every position of the company.
- … about money raised, think about what the goal of the company and its shareholders may be. Is the goal to create a company that lasts and stays private (rare in the tech startup world)? Have a liquidation event (most common desired state, i.e. acquired by another firm)? Go public via an IPO? Whatever the strategy of the company is in funding, consider what the possible outcomes may be 2, 3, 5, or even 10 years down the road.
- Again, what are you really after? Clayton Christensen, author of How Will You Measure Your Life, developed the Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework. He posits that everything we do or have has some purpose in life… a “job to be done”. In this way, what is the job the literal “job” should provide? Is it just money? Is it some fulfillment? Is it a place to meet friends? A startup is a company that provides goods or services to drive shareholder value. A corporation is no different – they’re all companies. How one startup executes its vision can be different from any other startup. This applies to large corporations as well. Thus, maybe what one is looking for is less about “startup” or size of company as much as it is purpose and vision or role.
Think about it. What’s your vision for yourself? How does your right-now fit into that vision? What does a startup offer that a large corporation may not? Or vice verse.
- The employer is hiring a part-time/ contractor for flexibility and expertise. The employer does not have to pay for benefits, taxes (in most cases), and any severance packages. Meanwhile, the employer gets a skilled resource to address an exact business problem. It’s an beneficial arrangement for both parties.
- A clear scope of work and deliverables ensures the entrepreneur is meeting expectations. It’s up to both parties if those expectations are exceeded (or not).
- The entrepreneur should be upfront in her passions and what she wants to do. There is not a finite period of work at this point. It’s up to both parties to find a mutually beneficial arrangement. Again, the employer is looking for part-time/ contractor work anyways.
- Big companies do, in fact, value entrepreneurial mindsets. These days, companies of all sizes realize the potential of more agile competitors. As such, companies are looking for capable, creative, and ambitious resources. These resources enable agility for companies.
- Cultural fit is key. The right companies will realize fit with the entrepreneur, and vice versa. Some companies will leverage the entrepreneurial skills to bring a new product to market. Others may want the worker to augment a team and execute. In any case, it’s down to people on both sides to enable growth on both sides.
Entrepreneurial ventures can enable some of the best experience anyone can ever have. Through entrepreneurship, founders can learn all facets of the business with a real-world MBA. They’ll learn through the ups and downs of why corporations operate today. (Corporations exist and create structure to scale early success, after all.) For the entrepreneur, be confident and honest with what you’ve done. Be honest with what you want to achieve. Realize the right opportunity will enable both parties to benefit.