Friday, January 27, 2012

Working at a Start-Up Company: Consider Both Sides

The recent recession’s impact on corporate America and new government policies and programs designed to encourage entrepreneurship like, Startup America, may result in job seekers finding more opportunities at start-up companies than in the past.

Working for a start-up company can be quite different than working for an established company. Start-ups typically appeal to those who are adventurous and not risk averse. Below are some observations that can help you weigh whether you’d be a good fit for working at a start-up company.

Be Part of Something New: Participating in the start of a new business can be exciting, energizing, and adventurous.

Share Opinions and Contribute: Many companies encourage you to share opinions and contribute ideas, but at a start-up company, you’re likely to have more opportunities to do so. And, your contributions may have a greater impact on the company’s success.

Wear Multiple Hats: Start-up companies typically have smaller staffs and budgets, so employees are often expected to perform more than one job function. In doing so, you may vastly broaden your skill set.

Enjoy Camaraderie: Camaraderie often results when employees team together to achieve a common goal. This is often the case at start-ups because they’re smaller and employees feel a greater responsibility for helping the company to succeed.

Recognize the Risk: Working at a start-up company tends to be more risky, since survival is uncertain.

Don’t Expect Structure: Since start-ups usually haven’t been operating for long, they tend to have fewer established processes and business protocols in place.

Prepare for High Stress: A start-up company can mean more challenges, longer hours, and pressure to perform within a short window of time. All of this can result in high levels of stress.

Expect Less Pay: Start-up companies generally work with limited capital and heavy start-up costs, thus needing to keep tight controls on overhead costs, including employee compensation. Expect to make less working for a start-up company, at least in the short term.

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