Do you have what it takes to succeed at a startup?
January 2017..... I walked into my first startup environment. Coming from a corporate environment, my sales figures were influential in being hired, but I very quickly realized as I walked into the office that my sales record meant little here and a variety of skills I spent years learning meant very little to succeed in this new chapter of my career.
Working for a corporate, you are an easily replaceable (even if you believe you are not) cog in a big machine. This is polar opposite to the startup world.
I reflect back to one of my first meetings with our sales team (four sales people and a leader) and the founder spelled out a very clear message, a message that will be echoed every month for the next three years, this has to be the biggest month or it could be our last month.
"F**K" I thought in my head. I had just given up a very comfortable and well paid position in London, moved across the Middle East and took the biggest risk in my career, to be told within the first few weeks that this could all be over!
My sales figures, mega deals, records and monthly/yearly awards meant nothing. It was a case of fighting for survival. No longer are you a cog, you are carrying 25% of the incoming financial responsibility for this company and the only option was to "get shit done."
At this stage of a startup, you don't really have the luxury to pick and choose your deals, to walk away with an arrogance that you will become a unicorn or to cleverly define your ICP (Ideal customer profile). It's time to get the revenue in the door, to then create the space and the luxury to define the above later.
If you reflect back on your early years in Sales, do you remember that excitement of the first deal? Sense of achievement with your first award? The pride as you board the plane on your "high-achievers" get away. Has this become the norm? Do you need a new challenge?
Despite the pressure and hand to mouth reality that startups live by, this challenge was exactly what I had been looking for - maybe it's the same for you?
If you are interested in finding out what it takes to get a role at a hyper-growth startup, connect with me on linkedin drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "I am ready for a challenge".