There is no denying that businesses are the most vulnerable in the first five years of operation, says career and business coach Amanda Walsh. “In fact, research indicates that almost two-thirds of start-up small and medium enterprises (SMEs) fail within two years due to a lack of planning, finances and vision,” she says.
When considering SA’s low start-up success rate, it’s obvious that taking a job at a start-up company is a risk. Due to tight budgetary constraints, start-up companies may not be able to afford perks, increases and bonuses. You may also be required to wear several hats, manage with few resources and, in some cases, work longer hours.
But there are several pros to working at a start-up. “When you work at a company from inception or from the early phases, you are likely to be a big fish in a small pond. Your voice is more likely to be heard and start-up environments are generally conducive to extensive learning and gaining invaluable experience on the job. If the company is successful, employees who demonstrated loyalty and dedication may be rewarded,” says Walsh.
Walsh advises asking the following questions when determining whether to work at a start-up:
- It’s important to do some research the founders of the company, their respective qualifications, experience, successes and failures.
- Try to get an idea of the company’s financial standings, start-up capital and financial strategies.
READ MORE: Funding your start-up
- It’s important to know what the vision for the company is. If you can, talk to your potential employer about their visions for the business and growth targets, specifically for the next 6-12 months.
- Consider the rest of the team. Is the company planning on taking people on in the next year? While you may not have the opportunity to meet with the rest of the team before you accept the offer, it’s advisable to do your homework, as most teams at the start-up stage are expected to work really closely, so it’s important that you get along with your colleagues.