One of my old bosses once told me, “It doesn’t matter what your title is. Whatever the company needs, that’s what you do. If they made me Director of Toilet Cleaning, we would have the cleanest toilets in the city, period.”
I now carry this mentality with me through any endeavor I take part in.
A lot of people join the startup world because they get jazzed up about the boost in responsibility, increased versatility of tasks, elevated power and job title. Tech startups are “sexy,” and many entrepreneurs let this go to their head.
What many people fail to realize, however, is that working at a startup is more than just avant-garde offices, free snacks and IPOs. Before you can even raise a Series A, a startup must fight the odds to penetrate the market, establish a brand and iterate to find product market fit — all with limited funding, resources and credibility, and man power. Thus, making a name in Silicon Valley isn’t as “sexy” of a process as many people imagine.
Sometimes what makes startups fail is the same thing that makes large corporations succeed – an unwavering commitment to a preconceived agenda. Unlike an established company, startups require you to be adaptable and able to change. You need to wear many different hats; you could be Head of Marketing on Monday, Head of Product on Tuesday and Director of Toilet Cleaning on Wednesday. It doesn’t matter your title or role; all that matters is that you are giving 100 percent of your efforts towards the company’s current goal. Alongside your ability to adapt and willingness to do anything for the company, here are six other traits that you need as an entrepreneur in a startup:
1. Believe in the Company Against All Odds
Friends, investors, family and cohorts might discourage you from working at the startup. They might inform of you that the odds of success are slim, or that they don’t believe it will work out.
You must believe that your company will succeed against all odds, no matter what. If your confidence in the company starts to fade then your performance will too.
Working relentlessly and grinding is necessary for anyone trying to grow a company from scratch. Companies are built with blood, sweat and tears.
3. Take Charge
Don’t wait for orders. When you see something that needs to be done, do it. There’s no time for micromanagement. You need to execute tasks that will help the company and not waste time waiting for instructions. Be willing to wear different hats. Bring in sales, get press, or form new partnerships – be willing to take the lead.
4. Always Be Thinking
There’s no agenda set in stone. Constantly be thinking of ways to expand and improve the business.
Be direct with your coworkers, and express your thoughts and ideas. This will optimize your efficiency. Failing to communicate will damage the progression of the company.
6. Grow with the Company
Your skill set should expand as the company grows. As the business develops, your responsibility will change and increase, and you must be able to change with the change in demands.