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Questions to ask before joining a start-up
I'm speaking to an MBA class in a few weeks and one of the topics they're interested in exploring is around "the questions to ask before joining a start-up". I thought this would be a good opportunity to throw it out to the community. If you were asked this question, what advice would you provide? Thanks all!
Well more importantly, if they don't open the books; walk away. If the can't show you six week cash flows and what's in the bank, they are hiding something.
I think it really depends on stage, but some questions that anyone startup should be prepared to answer are:
- What's the big idea?
- What's the plan to execute against that idea?
- What resources do you need to execute the idea, do you have them and if not what's the plan to acquire them?
- Why me, why now?
The most important thing here is that you are passionate about the problem a company is solving, the company has the right plan of attack and the incentive structure that is properly aligned for both the company and ther person joining.
Understanding risk toleronce is a great point - thanks, Samuel!
Funding, funding, funding. You don't want to join someone who doesn't have the capital to take it across the finish line.
If I were to join a startup. I would research about them before meeting them. Get a feeling of their personalities. Find out who they know and who they are connected with. Ask them numbers. How much I am getting paid now. What are my vesting options.
If I were to talk to an MBA class I would start with "You don't want to work for a startup and this is why. It is a very high-risk investment of your time. You will make a lot of mistakes. You will get paid low. Probably the startup won't get funded and it will fail. If you are not interested on joining a startup, feel free to get up and leave this room"
I am sure the ones that stay really want to pay attention. The rest want to work for Baine or Deloitte.