Career Management

Working for a startup is typically both exciting and challenging. And for someone who’s spent their entire career climbing the corporate ladder or sitting in a cubicle from nine to five, expanding a job search to include startups can be an excellent way to reinvigorate your career. However, you must make sure that you choose the right startup. For every successful new company, there are dozens of duds that you’ll want to avoid.

Importance of Location

Before delving into some of the specific tips for finding the right opportunity, it’s imperative that you take the time to understand the significance of what entrepreneurs call the “culture fit.” The culture fit essentially refers to how comfortable an entrepreneur feels in a particular startup.

In most cases, finding the right culture fit requires you to move to an area with a high concentration of startups in order to expose yourself to enough opportunities. If you’re currently living and working in a town with only one or two startups, you have seriously limited options. Odds are, you’ll accept an opportunity based on proximity, not fit.

For example, New York has a vibrant tech culture with lots of startup job opportunities.

Your odds of finding a culture fit in New York are much greater than if you were looking for an opportunity to work with a startup in the middle of North Dakota.

3 Tips for Finding the Right Opportunity

Once you hone in on a location that affords you many different opportunities to find the right culture fit, you’ll want to turn your attention towards the specifics of different startups. In particular, you’ll want to evaluate the following aspects to get an idea of whether or not you’re on the right track.

1) Consider the Strength of the Concept

Start with the concept. As an objective individual looking at the startup, do you believe the concept is strong enough to succeed? Does the product solve a relevant pain point in the marketplace? What does the competition look like? These are questions you need to answer.

The last thing you want to do is get involved with a startup that has a flawed concept.

2) Study the Founding Team


You can tell a lot about the future of a startup by studying the founding team. Are the founders ambitious, experienced, and creative? Or, do they appear to lack passion and drive?

A startup’s immediate success may depend on the product, but long term profitably is often tied to the determination of the founding team.

3) Understand Where You Fit In

“I cannot stress enough on this point. You must share the same vision with other people in the startup,” writes one entrepreneur. In other words, there needs to be a snug fit. Don’t confuse this with finding a startup in which everyone is just like you, though. The most successful startups are the ones where every individual brings something different to the table. What it comes down to is passion. Do you have the same passion and intensity for the business as everyone else?

Make the Right Choice

Working for a startup is a risky proposition. It can set you back, leave you unemployed, and seriously hamper your earning potential for a number of years. However, if you choose the right startup, the reward can be enormous. Consider the fact that when Facebook’s IPO went live, more than 1,000 of the company’s original employees instantly became millionaires.

When searching for the right startup job opportunity, leverage the tips mentioned in this article and take your time. If you align yourself with the right company, it could pay off in a big way.


Author: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

[Image Credit: Shutterstock]

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