Leaping on the rocketship: the balancing act of startups Posted at 0:00, Thu, 8 September 2016 in Industry Insights

The buzzword startup attracts two types of candidates. Those that are fresh from school, and those that are senior employees from corporations who are looking for a mid-career change. Those who have made the switch have spoken about the differences between working in a corporate organisation and a startup. I myself took a leap of faith to move from a multinational search firm to MitchelLake, a company that displays all the positives of a startup, despite its 15-year history. I have advised many candidates to move from corporations to startups too, and for the vast majority it has been a great and rewarding change.

From listening to these candidates and from my own experience, I would like to highlight one key factor for candidates who are trying to get on the rocketship: the act of balancing.

Here are some considerations to review if you’re looking for a change:

Flexibility and Discipline
When moving from a corporation to a startup, one experiences lot more flexibility at work. This is one of the biggest perks. Be conscious and find a balance between abusing the new-found freedom and instilling discipline to complete the tasks at hand. For example, if you’re stopping at 5pm to go to the gym for an hour, have the discipline to re-start at 7pm.

Achieving It All
We have heard about burn rate, limited budget or talents or simply the lack of these. With this in mind, one needs to constantly decide on a feasible goal that is achievable with the resources on hand, versus the grand goal.

The allocation of resources for some projects will limit or leave you with no headcount for other projects. You can only stretch your staff so much before they become demotivated and quit on you. However, all startups need to scale and achieve a lot as quickly as possible. So remember to set realistic deadlines and goals that can be accomplished at a humanly possible pace.

This has led many founders or managers rolling up their sleeves, working on too much operations work instead of focusing on the bigger picture.

Speed of Decision and Perfect plan
All startups require quick decision making, often at the lack of information, which means it is rarely a perfect plan. At times, they also need to act on based on trial and error, observing the impact along the way and tweaking the plan as they go along.

Before we part, I will leave you some questions to ponder, and if you have any words of wisdom, please get in touch with us on Twitter @MitchelLake

For Founders: When is the best time to make a business decision such as expanding to other territorial or taking on a new distribution channel? How much information do we gather before pivoting?

For Candidates moving to startups: When is the best time to make a leap, and how much information do we gather before doing so?

Special thanks to founders and candidates who has kindly shared their thoughts for this article.

Based in Singapore, Conny specialises in executive search for innovative, startups, emerging technology sectors and enterprise going through digital transformation. If you’re looking for talent or opportunities in the Lion City or elsewhere, get in touch.