Lessons Learned In Working for a StartUp

After our last post about entrepreneur lessons we’ve learned from Steve Jobs, I got to thinking about some other lessons I’ve learned while working for a startup.

Our generation has seemingly replaced the vernacular ‘small business’ with ‘startup.’ From the dry cleaner to the bakery, every new small business is a startup today. To me, we all have certain growth modes we go through, whether it’s a mobile tech business or even a business that doesn’t use a single piece of mobile technology.

I’ve been at Interapt for two years now, and I’ve really enjoyed the flexibility and agility of working for a startup. I don’t miss the bureaucracy and layers of approvals inherent to the corporate world. All of our company’s decision-makers are already sitting in every meeting I have, so our speed to market is directly affected by the ability to get quick answers and make deliberate, quick decisions. I view that speed as one inherent advantage of startups.

In a startup, I have much more one-on-one interaction with our clients, and together, we’re merging their vision of what they want to accomplish with our vision of how to develop their solution. Many clients are still trying to figure out how to utilize mobile technologies, and thanks to our closely-knit team, we’re able to give them solid guidance.

My startup situation is unique, in that I’m working in mobile apps–an industry that didn’t even exist a decade ago.  It’s unlike any other startup industry in that innovation occurs swiftly, and its impact is immediate and profound.  Moreover, those at the forefront of mobile tech innovation often pave the way for other businesses to expand or improve their current business model using mobile apps.  As an example, think of how products like Square changed the game for countless small businesses that now have a quick and easily implemented way to process credit card transactions in virtually any setting.

In a perfect world, you enjoy and respect the people you work with in your startup. I have that here at Interapt. We feed off of each other’s energy and we work as a real team. Corporate environments will talk about teamwork, but it’s because their morale is so poor, they’re trying to convince people there’s teamwork. With us, it’s genuine. We all do several jobs and play several roles, teach each other, challenge each other and deliver our best work, and that’s how we like it.

I’ve found that in the more corporate environments, it’s easy to “fake it” because there’s less accountability overall.  Sure you might have performance reviews, but overall an employee becomes a number and your metrics are analyzed by corporate decision-makers at most on a quarterly basis.  In a startup, you have to bring your A-game from day one, and if you don’t have it on a weekly basis, the team will recognize it and call you out on it.

When you love what you do and you buy into your company’s shared vision, it doesn’t matter how many hours you put into it.  It’s not hard to want to work.  The drive is always there to do your best. I am always motivated to get faster, stronger, bigger, and better.  I really enjoy that part of working for a startup, and I’m a better person and employee because of it.

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