KashFlow has been going a good few years now and there are over 20 of us here. But we’re still very much a start-up in terms of our culture, the way we work, and the things we’re working on.
Working in a start-up is nothing like working in a “big” business.
Some people simply aren’t cut out for it.
There are four attributes you MUST have to work in a start-up business.
Make sure you’ve got them before you leave the comfort of your corporate job and discounted gym membership. Or if you’re the start-up owner, look for them in all your hires, it’ll save on P45s.
There are no procedure documents. Your job description is fluid. You won’t get clear and detailed instructions on how to do what’s asked of you. You’ll get a fuzzy outline at best.
It’s up to you to fill in the details.
It doesn’t matter if you get it wrong, as long as you can explain why you made the choices you made. After explaining it, others might even see that you weren’t “wrong” after all.
Everyone is overworked in a start-up, there will always be things that need to be done but no one is doing them. Spotted one of those things? Do something about it, even if you’re not asked to.
If you’re someone that needs regular guidance, direction and hand-holding, then working in a start-up isn’t for you.
You have to really care about what you do. I mean really.
If you’re in digital marketing then you need to be the kind of guy that spends his evenings reading EConsultancy.
If you’re in customer services then you need to be genuinely upset if you’ve got an unhappy customer.
If you took the initiative and others disagree with you, you need to be able and willing to passionately defend your choices.
If you go home at 5.30 and don’t think about work again until 9am then working in a start-up isn’t for you.
It’s bloody hard work working in a start-up.
The perks certainly aren’t as good as they are in the corporate world and the hours are longer.
Being enthusiastic about what you do not only helps you get through the day, but it’s infectious – it helps your colleagues too.
If you don’t have a genuine enthusiasm for what you do then you’ll end up hating your job.
You can have all the passion and enthusiasm in the world, but if that’s not coupled with the innate ability to actually do the job then it’s not worth diddly squat.
Of course, everyone thinks that they have the aptitude. So this is more a warning to the potential employer rather than the employee.
Just because someone is passionate and enthusiastic, it doesn’t mean they can do the job.
Three out of four isn’t enough. You need all four.
Got all four? Great! Although there are other considerations too.
Things move fast in a start-up. You need to move fast, think fast and work fast.
By its very nature, a start-up is still evolving. Things will change quickly. What was 100% certainly definitely important yesterday may be totally irrelevant tomorrow.
Talking is quicker than writing. Ideas and problems get bounced around regularly. Clarity in verbal and written communication is incredibly important.
Did I mention everyone is busy and over-worked? Say what you need to say. Don’t use 100 words to say what you mean if 12 will do the job.
It’s not all bad
After reading the above you’re probably not so keen to work in a start-up any more.
But it’s not all bad.
There’s huge variety in the work that you do, you learn lots, you might just change the world (or a small corner of it).
And of course you get to work with passionate and enthusiastic people.
Oh, and we’re hiring!
If you’re not already buying a grey suit and reading the KPMG careers page, then you might be interested to hear that we’re hiring.
Specifically we are looking for people in customer service (talking to SME customers on the phone, helping them to use our accounting software) and for people in a-role-that-doesn’t-have-a-name-yet that will involve visiting accountants and training them and their clients on our products.
Interested? Email us.