Questions you should ask before joining a startup.
Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless — Mary Kay Ash
The world is full of incredible ideas that never go anywhere because great ideas are useless without someone (teams) full of passion to implement them. If you’re a great marketing mind and have tons of good ideas or one big idea and your supporting teams don’t match up to execute them, your idea is of no use.
So before you decide to jump on to a start-up ship, here’s what you need to keep in mind — The company is a ship. And the ship has a…
Leadership team — The folks who take dibs on what size the ship is. How fast moving it’s going to be. Is it’s core purpose to drill oil or to ship goods… Stuff like that. Basically, they’re going to nail the vision and make sure the company is headed in that direction.
Do a thorough research on the founders and investors. Talk to them about their vision. Question them about the feasibility of the same. Ask them about the challenges they’ve faced. The strengths that they have. What’s the enrty-barrier for someone else to come and do this? If they give you reasons enough, believe in their moonshots too :)
Tech Team — They are the one who are going to make that ship. Make sure the engine works like an engine and the chimney works like a chimney. Easy? Not really. They’re the ones who have to keep the product working and ensure it’s got the scale to accommodate new visions and market changes.
This is the most dangerous one. Because you’ll almost never know until you’re invested in the company to figure out how good the tech team is and how well they understand the business needs. But this is the most important part of it all.
If the tech team fails to make the ship or to keep it running. Vola! You’re done. So if you have friends working in the start-up, ask them questions on how nimble the tech team is. How sound they are to take an idea to production? What is the scale of operations they’ve managed before? And finally, how well do they understand business needs. Do they understand higher GMV means higher priority than other things on their bucket list? Or perhaps that the business track should be separate from an app reliability track as both are critical.
Business and Marketing Team — These are the folks on the ship who make the most of the ship and enhance the ship to be more attractive to businesses and customers. They’re the ones who mean business. Talk about GMV, ARPU, Retention… they’re your people.
These are the the folks who are always wanting to do 2x of what they did last month / week / day. You need to question if they’re hungry to grow. If they’re given enough support to grow. If they’re making wise growth calls.
Asking the above questions to them and then to yourself, if you think it’s the right place, then come aboard the start-up party!