By Steve Hunt, Founder & Advisory Board Member
of DB Cyber Tech, a Database Security Company
Startups are not for everyone. Statistics show that in high tech only 1 and 10 startup “succeeds”. The hours are long, the pay isn’t always great in the beginning and the risk of being out of work is ever present. As one of my CEO’s once told me “the highs are higher, the lows are lower and the transition between the two can kill you." Having said that if you want to get into startup life know what you are getting into.
1) Know the team.
In high tech a startup is as much about the team as it is the technology or product. Many startup have to pivot to a different product or service before they become successful and finding a team that has those capabilities is critical.
2) Understand where the company is going.
Make sure that you understand what the founder expectations are for the company and try to understand if they are realistic. Different outcomes (going public, selling to another company or staying private) all have different timelines and levels of financial success so you should understand what the founders expect and judge if you think that is realistic and meets you needs.
3) Prepare yourself to take on many roles.
If you are considering an early stage startup be prepared to do many jobs – some of which you may be learning as you go. In the early days you can’t pay others to do things that need to be done so everyone pitches in on everything.
4) Keep your ego in check.
Be sure you can set your own ego aside. To succeed everyone in the startup has to be focused on what will make it succeed, not what they want out of it. Once the company has seen some success your efforts should be recognized.
5) Be prepared for the roller coaster.
Finally, be prepared for things to get much worse before things take off. It is not uncommon for startup to almost run out of money more than once during the early days, to have serious technical setbacks and major shifts in the market places they are trying to serve. Being proactive in looking for these challenges and open to sometimes radical and difficult changes needed to address them will make moving forward possible.
There are many other things to know and consider when heading done this path but this is at least a taste.