Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why work for an early-stage company?

Post 528 - Why should you go to work for a startup or an early-stage company? Here are ten reasons why:

1. More influence.
With a smaller workforce, everyone has more say. You’ll have more opportunity to voice your opinions and to influence key decisions.

2. More ownership.
You may not be the founder, but you might earn some equity or stock options. A sense of ownership will give you a reason to work harder and contribute more than ever before.

3. More meaning.
The best startups have a strong purpose and are built around a vision that really resonates. This provides you and other like-minded people with a common focus and meaning in their work.

4. More camaraderie.
Startup teams have to learn to work together in order to succeed. This doesn’t mean you’ll always get along, but a little disagreement never hurt anyone.

5. More diversity.
You’re going to be expected to do a lot of different things, many of which you've never done before. You’ll be forced to move out of your comfort zone and thus have many opportunities to expand your horizons.

6. More learning.
Startup environments are crash courses in business and in life. You’re likely to learn more in one year at a startup than you will in four years at college.

7. More connectivity.
With fewer levels of bureaucracy, everyone feels closer together. You should be well connected to your executive team as well as the customers, vendors, VCs, friends and family, etc. that surround the company.

8. More emotion.
Working at a startup is usually pretty intense and the emotional charge you’ll get on a regular basis makes it a worthwhile and rewarding experience.

9. More success in the future.
Many startup employees go on to bigger and better things. Whether it’s higher paying / more interesting jobs or starting their own companies, your resume and personal story will likely benefit considerably from living the startup experience.

10. More fun.
People at startup companies seem to have more fun. They work hard, then they play hard. That’s usually the way it is ...

Granted, not all early-stage companies will give you the benefits described above. You can’t always expect to find the perfect fit. But consider taking the leap. In my experience, the learning experience is well worth the risk involved.

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