5 Ways to Be Successful at a Startup
I hear it all the time, “I can't take any more PTO”, “I hate my job”, “Only 3 more days until the weekend!”. Most of my peers are working at large corporations where they’re miserable with their day to day responsibilities. But, when they hear about my day to day, our unlimited PTO, flexible hours, beer on tap, and fun work culture, they think I have the best job around. At a startup that's run the right way, there is a lot of flexibility - you are able to have input, spend time with executives, and if you are ambitious and successful, you have the ability to be noticed and move up quickly. However, a startup environment is not one that all types can thrive in. You need to be disciplined, motivated, and above all, productive, as there is nowhere to hide in a small company. Below are my top 5 ways to stay productive at a startup:
Plan your day, everyday - Try to plan your day by the end of the day prior. By creating a strategic plan for every 30 minute block of time on your calendar, you’ll be able to maximize your efforts and achieve the results you want. This will exponentially increase your focus and productivity, but don’t be afraid to make room for a few brain breaks throughout the day so you don’t burn out.
Leverage your internal resources - Typically, every person brought on to a startup will have a strong set of skills that can help build the foundation of the company. My biggest advice? Utilize those skills! Be friendly, meet these people, grab some coffee, learn from them. These will be the people that will help you solve problems and that will make you more successful than you ever could be on your own. Being a team player is more important than you might think.
Be a sponge, Never stop learning - Working for a startup often means you’re going up against large name companies with credibility in the marketplace that you just don’t have yet. So, how do you help yourself and your startup to get the brand recognition you’re looking for? Being more confident and knowledgeable than your competition. When you’re scheduling out your day as per tip #1, make sure you dedicate time to research your industry. Read articles and books, listen to podcasts, subscribe to relevant newsletters, network with industry professionals, attend events, and be up to date on the market at all times. Not only will this help you in business, but I bet it’ll impress your boss too.
Be Flexible - At a startup, you are not going to have any of the structure that you would have with a large and long standing company. You are going to need to learn to take initiative, try new things, and be self-disciplined in order to thrive. Just as you are going to learn from others in your office, you need to contribute and help your peers and company in return. In a startup environment, no one has a cut and dry job title like it is at a larger organization. Not only will you have the opportunity to contribute in more ways than your job description lists, but you should! If you were brought into a startup, you’re skills can probably help in unexpected ways.
Find a Mentor - Find someone in the company that you can connect with and learn from. Whether it’s a fellow employee, a supervisor, or an executive of the company, finding someone who will provide you with feedback and answer your questions will help you continue your professional growth.
All in all, working at a startup can be a thrilling, growth filled experience, but it is definitely not for everyone. If you think it could be for you, or if you’re looking for ways to help enhance your current performance at a startup, I hope these 5 tips have helped you. And if you’re looking for a job at a startup, ReluTech is hiring. Check out our Careers page to get more information.
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