3 Things You Need to Know About Working for Startups

September 24, 2015 Idil Omar

Transitioning from a massive company to a startup looks like a big adjustment for many, however it’s quite the opposite.

One thing a lot of people tend to forget is that business is business regardless of where you work and what stage your company is at.

Operational tasks need to be fulfilled, business needs to continue to flourish, and employees need to perform - it’s that simple! These are all traits for a normal functioning business - but it seems to always surprise people when they see them at a startup.

So how do we help folks with their move to a startup you may ask?

Our guide to the rescue! There are the three things you need to know about working for a startup.

1. Tasks will weigh more than the usual. 

When you work for a big company, you feel like you’re a (little) part of a big (rarely well-oiled) machine. The everyday minuscule tasks you complete are rarely noticed despite their need to be completed to keep the ‘engine’ going. 

This is not the case when working for startup companies - tasks weigh a lot, if not even more than the usual.

That’s because you’re a big deal.

Yup, I said it - you’re a big deal and because you’re a big deal you produce big deal things. It may sound like a lot of pressure, but you were hired for a reason - you can do the job - and do the job right! 

Big companies usually have multiple employees completing similar tasks and even simultaneously. That’s not necessarily the case for startups, and we may not have people trained to play backup.

Translation: You're important. This is the exact reason why tasks weigh a lot more than the usual. It’s as simple as this: if you don’t complete the task, it’ll never get done… so don’t forget to do it!

2. Big risks feel even bigger. 

Very quickly you’ll notice that small businesses have big business tendencies - this is because risks are ranked at a different caliber. 

There isn’t too much room for error because startups are building their foundation… they’re literally starting up. Big risks need to be carefully calculated and the entire team needs to be onboard.

If the team isn’t cohesively making decisions, it's like you're in the ninth inning, all the bases are loaded, but you strike out - and you do not want that!


3. Success will be felt… and recognized.

Success is clearly a great feeling. But, do you know what feels even better?

Getting recognition for it! 

In big companies, it’s virtually impossible to recognize every employee for their great work. They may be doing a great job, nonetheless, it would take up too much time to recognize every great outcome.

Luckily, that’s not the case for startups.

The outset of teams is very small, therefore recognition is given more frequently. Recognition is so consistent that it is embedded within the company culture to give it, making it super awesome to work at a startup.

Like I said, transitioning into a role at a startup looks like a big adjustment, but if you remember this 3-step guide, it won’t be so scary - just don’t mess anything up.

If you’ve got any tips and tricks for people transitioning into a new role at a startup, please don't hesitate to share it in the comment section!

This blog post is brought to you by Idil Omar, Manager of Business Development Operations at Design Cofounders, an agency, startup incubator, education program, and community impact space, all combined under one roof. 

About the Author

Idil Omar

Idil Omar is the Manager of Business Development Operations at Design Cofounders. Her company provides courses and workshops to individuals building careers at the intersection of entrepreneurship and design, design and strategy consulting for startups and organizations, and drives community growth throughout the ecosystem by bringing together Toronto’s design focused startups, creators and innovators.

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