Important Questions To Ask Before Joining A Start-up Company
Deciding to join a start-up isn’t always easy. You never know if and when a company could take off. It might be worth making a bet.
It’s regularly repeated that 90 percent of start-ups fail, which forces the question: Am I prepared to take the risk? After all, when you accept a job offer from a start-up company, you’re making a bet on a company that might not be around in five or ten years. Here are some important questions you must ask before joining a start-up company.
Can I afford this?
Depending on when you join the team or how well the company is performing, you need to acknowledge a hard truth: You might not always get paid on the standard schedule. You should be prepared to survive a three- to six-month period with no salary and assume your equity is worth zero. While this might not happen, having the right resources and savings in place could make the overall start-up experience a little less stressful.
Is the founder a winner?
Successful founders come in all sizes and shapes. It is essential to note that a track record is not a requirement but a good track record is a bonus. An exit well above the last private investment valuation is a strong indicator of success.
What is the company culture?
Investors and business giants agree that company culture is fundamental to success. The term is quite vague but there are concrete things to check for. For starters, you may check Glassdoor reviews of the company to make sure you are not walking into a snake pit. A score of over 4 is generally good, but some organizations carefully manage their reviews, so take a close look at the negative ones.
What can I learn?
If you are going to take the risk, you need to ensure it pays off not just financially, but also professionally. In a start-up environment, you will rarely get a chance to focus solely on one or two tasks. With a small team, you will essentially need to wear multiple hats—and that can be rewarding because it often translates into having more autonomy over what you learn. Are there skills you can gain in this role that could advance your career and better position you for your next job? If so, now might be the right time to join the team.
Which market is the start-up targeting?
Many companies refer to the massive total addressable market (TAM) they target. Don’t be bamboozled by astronomical market sizes. Employees should try to form their own view as to whether they believe in the market and its future growth. Ask yourself whether the foreign example is relevant for the start-up’s home market.
Consider the ins and outs of joining a start-up company and think more like an investor.