Working For A Start Up : Asking The Right Questions.

Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” –Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

According to Forbes, A Start Up has been defined as “a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not gauranteed” also as “a state of mind” “when people join your company and are still making the explicit decision to forgo stability in exchange for the promise of growth…”

Start Up’s are a fledgling company and in Nigeria, it can be simply defined as one without structure.

So, say you get a call back from that interview — before you embark on quoting your previous tweet with “ #i got the job” here are some things you need to do.

Find Out/Ask Questions

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1 — Ask — How long have they been starting up?

Basically, when a company starts yeilding and becomes profitable, it can, and should, no longer be called a Start-Up. Some would argue that a company 5 — 10 years in can still be a start up, but this is wrong on so many levels. This should be your very first question — “So, how old is your company” — You do want to be a part of a growth but that doesnt mean you should be the growth. How long a company has been on the struggle gives you an edge to calculate how long you have to either help make a change or go home. Once the company has no redeemable factor or bearings in the right direction it will have no forseeable avenue for growth in the future. You either sink or swim with it OR be the solution. If the latter is what you have in mind, then give your self a timeline and set out to achieve the achievable.

2 — Ask — What type of boss you would have!

A key attribute of any start up is growth, and more often than not that growth is linked directly with the woman/man in charge. In most Start Up’s you do meet directly with your boss on a regular. You do not know if this is a good thing or a bad thing but it depends on what angle you are looking at it from. Is your to-be boss the type that likes to only give orders or also likes to get feedback??

Start Up’s have an edge unlike most companies, it gives employees the opportunity to challenge themselves to produce within their strenghts. If your boss does not like to be challenged or listen to ideas from anyone BUT themselves then….

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3 — Ask — About Growth Opportunities!

The beautiful thing about a Start Up is that you do get promoted qiuck, you do not have to jump the corporate ladder like you would at a business with a hierarchy. You are less than 20 afterall so it is easy to add title “Lead” to your name or job role after 6 months in a department that you alone handle or run and in a few years, you could become an executive. If this is your thing, then go for it!

4 — Ask about benefits?!

Working for some start-up’s, you might have the option to work from home on some days, and there is the perk of free lunch every day. However, these perks are not gauranteed. The free lunch could stop without prior notice or any explanation and you just may be required to come in to the office on your day off. Start Up’s generally would feed you with the revolutionary talk of you being a part of something great in foreseeable future hence what is free launch when you are saving the world one nano second at a time. Your appointment letter would state that payment is made on a certain date each month after deduction of statutory payments, find out from your prospective co-workers how this plays out — if they do get to receive these stautories when needed.

Photo by Luca Bravo on Unsplash

5 — Skills and Experiences

Start Up’s generally need the manpower, and working for one means you will get to pick up quite a number of valuable skills because you’d have to adapt and not work specifically to your job description. You need to be ready to take on more than you applied for. This can eventually be really good for your resume if things do not work out and you’re forced to look for employment elsewhere.

Start Up’s are not for everyone, they may fail and they may not. You might have to have the sink or swim attitude working for one. If it suits you then you should go for it. If you do not have the patience and perseverance that goes into gaining skills and building a business, then do not.



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