How to Tell If a Startup Is The Best Place For You

Working for a startup can be a tempting prospect when you’re looking for a new job. A newer company is something exciting to get involved with, many startups offer great opportunities for those still growing their skills and experience. However, many startups eventually fail and some do so within the first year or two. Taking a job with a startup can be a risk, but there are both pros and cons to choosing to work for a startup company. These short-term risks can blossom into excellent long-term benefits.

Does the Startup Stand a Chance?

The main question to ask if you’re considering joining a startup is whether the company has a future. This isn’t always easy to tell, but it’s essential that you have some confidence in the business if you don’t want your time there to be just a flash in the pan. Researching a company is always important when considering a job, but it becomes even more so when it’s a startup.  Spend some time looking into the background of the company, the funding it has received and its plans for the future. Your peers or network may offer valuable insight into external views of the company.

Another thing to consider is the people behind the startup. Can you trust them? Do they know what they’re doing? Researching their backgrounds can only get you so far, so if you make it to the interview stage, the opportunity to meet them can help you to assess them too.

Our Managing Director, Rodney, has some great advice when looking into joining a startup:

“Some very important factors on deciding whether a start-up is less of a risk not only includes how much investment they have received but also when it was received. Companies who have received $2-$10M investment in the last year are likely to be investing heavily on their product and their team, a great sign that a company is stable and growing.

You should also do some research on where the investment is coming from, is it from a venture capital fund (VC) or private wealth or Private Equity? Check out the person or company who is investing and see what track record they have of helping start-ups get an acquisition. Finally, look out for whether the Founders have previously run successful start-ups that went on to be acquired, serial entrepreneurs have been there before and know what it takes to be successful – this can big a plus when weighing up the risks of joining something early stage.”


Does it Offer What you Require?

If you’re fairly confident that the startup isn’t going to crash and burn in the next few months, your next question might be whether there’s specifically a future for you with the company.  Having an established career and moving to an unknown can offer some great opportunities to help build up a business. Depending on investment levels there could be potential to implement activities that you previously may not have had the chance to. Map out what you require from a role, things you want to achieve and be part of, compare that to your research you’ve conducted to make sure they are aligned.

Consider the Benefits

In addition to how you might be able to enhance your career with the company, think about what other benefits you might want from a startup. Perhaps the salary you are able to earn is the most important thing that you want to know, along with other monetary benefits like the pension offered or the chance to own shares in the company. You might also be looking for other types of benefits, such as those that offer you a good work-life balance. Policies such as flexible working are becoming more popular with both employers and employees, and could be a priority for you.

Before making a decision about working for a startup, look at the opportunity from all angles. As well as considering the future of the company, think about how you will establish yourself as a key player in the business and also how it will meet your own requirements of a role.

If you’d like some advice on moving into a startup, then do get in contact.