Things to consider before joining a startup

September 16, 2021

Pros and cons of working for a startup

Source: Pexels/Startup Stock Photos

During your job hunt, you may consider seeking out new opportunities presented by up and coming businesses. There are many benefits to joining a startup, but also a number of things to consider before making the decision. 

In this blog post, we outline some of the pros and cons of working in a startup and the questions you should ask to evaluate them. These questions will help you assess the business culture, transparency and finance before getting a job at a startup. 



What is the business culture like?

Cultural fit is a critical factor to consider for a job in any business or organisation. It would be best if you felt compatible with the culture of the company you want to join. 

All startups follow the rhythm of their founders, expectations, and working strategy to meet the company goals.

Therefore, most startups require working in small groups to share ideas and implement them for success. need to put more effort into a startup business to sell products or services off the ground. This means relationships between employees are essential to business success.

It’s important to feel the excitement of the startup mission statement and understand the company’s expectations. You should also invest your time and energy in fulfilling your dreams and work to maximize business productivity. If this is the case for the startup job you’re applying for, it might just be the right fit for you. 

To find out more about the company culture, you can always read reviews on Glassdoor from current employees. This will give you a scope of what it is like to work for the organisation and whether the culture is in line with your own values. 



How transparent is the startup?

Startups are relatively small when they begin their operations, and they should be transparent in their day-to-day activities.

It helps you to find out their processes and boost your trust. Your level of trust may be higher if the startup is offering equity and you want to apply for any role.

Equity relates to how much an employer will gain if the company becomes a publicly traded or owned entity. 

For a startup, it is generally recommended that senior-level members are granted 50%-90% of their salary, medium-level staff members are given 25%-50% and junior employees are granted 10%-25%. 

Various benefits come with business transparency. Working as a team requires endless hours of spending time with people you trust. You also need to know who is skilled at what job to enable your team to offer the solutions needed for service.

Lack of trust leads to personal stress, which can lead to concerns over whether the job is right for you. Therefore, look to build your trust to be more comfortable working at a startup.


How will it impact your financial situation?

Some startups may bootstrap their way to success. Bootstrapping refers to when startup founders started a company with little capital and used their finances to fund the company. Sometimes they tend to use revenue from other outlets.

Such startups may experience problems such as late payroll, and the buildup takes years. Watch out for red flags by looking at the company's plans with relevance to their financial situation. If they are not honest about their funding and any financial issues, then it may be a risky venture for you.

Ask about the funding and reflect on your financial situation. Listen to your instincts and if you feel comfortable, then embrace the opportunity. 



Do you have the right business skills?

It’s important that you have the essential skills to take a startup to the next level. Some skills that may help you include: 

  • Strong knowledge of the SME sector. Specialist knowledge of small businesses will help you become an asset to the business, particularly if you have growth expertise. 

  • Coding and design skills. Most startups focus on some form of software, website or technology, so it’s useful to be able to help with this production, even if it’s just providing ideas. 

  • Ability to analyse data. As startups are often very tech-focused to begin with, it will be handy to have a good grasp of data analysis in order to understand the technology and have the insight necessary to make improvements. 

What is your motivation for joining a startup?

The final thing to consider is why you want to join a startup. Where are you in your career? It might be that you feel your career has stagnated. 

In this instance, if you feel that the startup would offer you opportunities to develop new skills or greater ownership of the projects you work on, it might be worth taking the plunge and embarking on a new challenge.

Sometimes we look for a change in our careers because we feel bored. In this case, it might be a big risk to switch careers and work for a startup. 

It might be that working on a side project alongside your current job would be a less-risky solution to this problem. If in a few months you still feel the same, perhaps then is the time to consider a career move. 

If you’re looking for a more senior job title, it’s important to consider whether a startup would provide you with this. Some may do this, but if working for a startup means taking a pay cut or working in a more junior position than your current role, consider whether these factors are worth it long term.


Ready to make your first move in working for a startup?

Here at Airswift, we have more than 40 years of experience in helping candidates find their ideal roles at companies of all sizes, from small startups to large global organisations. To get started, sign up to our jobs board. 

Find the right job for you!

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This post was written by: Andrew McLoughlin, Senior Recruitment Manager