A few blogs before we talked about why interning at a startup is a good idea. Today, we’d like to dwell more on what it actually TAKES to work for one. Here are five key qualities for success at a startup (as featured in Entrepreneur.com)
1. Passion for the product
Building a vision into reality takes passion. Do your homework, study the product and the industry. The founders will definitely be looking for people who are interested in the industry and have some background knowledge. Your passion will also allow you to move forward in the challenging startup environment.
2. Roll-up-your-sleeves mentality
Startups may seem glamorous and fun on the outside. But on the inside – you must be ready to get your hands dirty.
Are you comfortable juggling five giant boxes on the subway during rush hour in the middle of winter? Or racing to the other part of town for a client meeting after work hours?
The thing is, no job is too small for a startup. The phrase “this is not my job” should never be in your startup vocabulary.
“If someone expects everything handed to them, they might be better off at a larger company with more infrastructure,” says Kathryn Minshew, founder and CEO of career-discovery platformThe Muse. “Smaller businesses need people who will do whatever it takes to make the company successful. And yes, sometimes at 15-person companies, that means the CEO and the social media manager both take turns emptying the kitchen trash.”
3. It’s great to have ideas. It’s even better to show them work.
Got a great idea? Don’t just share it, show it. While you may be bursting at the seams with great ideas, execution and follow-through are key traits to success in the startup world.
At a startup, it is much more valuable to identify your top three ideas and work through a fully-baked plan of attack before sharing it with your team, rather than rattling off half-a-dozen suggestions that aren’t well thought-out
4. Be proactive, not reactive.
No matter how young or inexperienced you might be, the best part of working at a startup is that everyone has the potential to contribute in a big way. Show that you’ve got what it takes. Don’t be afraid to take on responsibilities and uncover opportunities to move the business forward. Even if you are finished with you work for the day – don’t waste time: work on a new idea, help out a colleague or read up on industry news.
5. Be a strategist, not a bystander.
Don’t be afraid to participate. Even if you are the most junior member of the team and don’t feel comfortable questioning the status quo – you may look for informal opportunities to share insights with your tea,
When building a concept from scratch, processes and objectives constantly evolve, so look at everything with a critical eye. Unlike your corporate counterparts, your mission is to unlock issues and identify opportunities for change and improvement. Even if you’re the most junior hire at the table and don’t feel comfortable challenging the status quo, look for informal opportunities to share insights with your team.