Welcome to Twin Cities Start Up week, everyone! It should be full of total networking enjoyment. Lately, Minneapolis has taken on the moniker: Startup Capital of the North, playing off of a recent re-branding shift as the Twin Cities ditches the Midwest mentality to forge it’s own. As we spend a week celebrating these small businesses with grand ideas, we are sometimes reminded of the failures. The risks involved in working at a startup should give anyone pause — relying on investors or unsteady profits can mean that every day is a gamble. Sometimes you work hard and directions shift at the drop of a hat. But for all the frustrating moments and unpredictable outcomes, there are some amazing rewards. I’ve only been working at Empulse for a short 6 months, but I’ve learned so much about the value of working in a start-up. Here’s why:
1. Ability to get things done.
Doesn’t it feel great — the feeling of accomplishment? The ability to move process forward on a daily or weekly basis is so rewarding in a small business. At Empulse, we’re constantly evaluating our process and making changes. The decision-making process is democratic and seemingly so easy. I’m reminded of that every time I talk to a developer in a large company. Their main complaint is the pace at which change takes place. “Nothing gets done around here!” they say. The decision-making system at large companies drags down real progress, and slowly kills the soul of a good employee. We become better employees when we have that feeling of accomplishment, and it is the fire that fuels our daily ambitions.
2. Business Acumen.
When you care about the mission of your company, every decision you make becomes a business decision. It brings out the business analyst in all of us. As an employee of a small company, you pay attention to the numbers, to the consumers, to the investors. You will learn the value of a dollar in a different way, whether it is shopping around before buying a whiteboard or how much to invest in an SEO partner. You will think of creative solutions before going to pay for one. I’ll say this fiscal responsibility has trickled into my own life, and has taught me to get creative with what I have in front of me.
3. Creating Culture, aka Vibes.
When you join a large corporation, you’re chosen based on a pre-existing ‘company culture’. You need to adapt to what is around you, but maybe you don’t love office yoga? Joining a small team means you have some say in what makes that a great place to work. You get to influence and create a culture you enjoy, rather than faking excitement over chili cook-offs. Activities aside, there’s more to culture than the putting green. Motivation and competition, as much as apathy and laziness are all under a magnifying glass when there’s only a handful of you in the office. If you go to work as your best self, your team will rise to meet you.
4. Opportunity and Visibility.
It’s no secret that a startup here in Minneapolis can’t compete with UHG/Target/BB/etc when it comes to salary. But what they can offer you is an opportunity to learn so much more. You can branch into different skill sets, learn about different aspects of the company, and be rewarded by your own creativity. Those skills learned will be eternally more valuable down the line, and likely will increase your paycheck down the road. Moreover, because you are one in a handful at a startup, you become one in a million to the rest of the community. The network of the startup community is, as you’ll see this week, rich with interesting people and invigorating ideas.
What this all gets to, at the heart of it, is finding equity in a mission. We all want to work towards something we believe in — something we can be proud of. Working at a startup magnifies that desire and puts it out in front of you every day. That is a benefit that weighs so heavily for most employees, more than any stock option or 401K match can. When people go to work because they know they are creating value and bringing a dream to life, that is where you find equity in a mission.
If you haven’t yet, check out the Twin Cities Startup Week schedule and see for yourself what this awesome community has to offer! bit.ly/TCSW16