Looking for a Job – Take a Chance on a Start-Up
I am often told that it is hard to recruit for a start-up business – and I am amazed.
The reason I left steady, full time employment to start my first business was because I repeatedly found myself choked by the processes of big firms. I could clearly see what was needed, but corporate procedures and layers of management stifled progress.
Working in a start-up instantly changes this dynamic. There’s access to the owners and bosses, the ability to be heard and stand-out and far more action and less talk. As my COO puts it – more opportunity to ‘touch the sides’ of a business and ultimately use your skills to make a difference.
The common worry for the job seeker is job security, but it is a myth that working with a start-up is riskier than working for a big corporate machine. Large organisations can spend a great deal of time looking to cut the fat from the business and the larger the firm the less likely those making the decisions will know their staff personally, making hiring and firing a lot easier.
By comparison, within a start-up there is a real opportunity for rapid advancement. As the start-up grows the team grows with it. We’ve gone from just two people to employing 40 in two years and we are still recruiting. This opens up an abundance of manager, team leader and supervisor roles available for those individuals with the capabilities and desire to progress.
Money is always tight and you’ll be expected to treat every pound as your own, doing more with less. But that’s when individual ingenuity and good ideas can come to life. There’s a freedom and a responsibility, which the ambitious will thrive upon.
Yes, the trappings of corporate life are well and truly thrown out the window. There can be less respect for personal time than traditional businesses and there may be an expectation to work into the evening for that important product launch, check emails from home and get a phone call on the weekend if the server falls over.
It can also be chaotic, and you need to like change – your desk can change; your job role can change; your manager can change; the entire vision of the company can change (or as techies like to say ‘Pivot’). Roll up your sleeves and dive right in.
I can’t speak for all start-ups but if you compare Intelligent Point of Sale to typical businesses, you’ll find that we have office dogs, a very relaxed environment, flexi time, casual dress codes, office beers and pizza, a free soft drinks fridge, and much, much less focus on hierarchy.
Our first office was in the corner of a 1970’s business centre and it was a while before we had the budget or room for a ping-pong table. Now, though, we have bespoke-designed offices and every one of our employees has the opportunity to input their ideas and affect real change.
Most start-ups have a compelling story to tell and the appeal is not simply remuneration, although share options can be a draw. Start-ups offer a different culture and are truly the home for job seekers wanting to make a difference. All businesses were start-ups once, and with the support that is available most start-ups today have solid business models – and, in my opinion, are worth the chance.