A few weeks ago a friend changed jobs moving from a growth-stage startup to an early-stage startup and he was surprised at just how much he’d forgotten about the early days, and how hard it can be at times. A high-growth tech company with 150 employees is very different from a just-barely-achieved-product-market-fit company with 10 employees.
Here are a few challenges when switching to a much smaller startup:
- Problems like losing a big customer can be catastrophic at the early stage, while more of a bump in the road for larger companies
- Layers of redundancy are often absent, making for more difficulty when a team member is sick or on vacation
- No Man’s Land sets in where the company has to invest in more infrastructure and people, often without the necessary resources
- Processes and dedicated teams, like HR to help with hiring a new team member, aren’t in place, requiring more time from the employee to take care of details
- Marketing guides, sales collateral, engineering instructions, etc. are usually still on the to-do list, making for unexpected work
Of course, smaller startups are often faster paced, more dynamic, and provide greater thrills. There’s no one-size-fits-all, but there are real differences that come into focus after making a job change.
What else? What are some other challenges encountered after switching from a growth-stage startup to an early-stage startup?