More and more people are getting the itch…the itch to join a hot start up that is. It’s not just in Silicon Valley, it’s in Nashville, Denver, Austin, the list goes on and on of cities across the country that are incubators for startups. So if you are one of those jumping on the start-up bandwagon, how do you make yourself indispensable to the founder?
1. Understand how to work with them. Entrepreneurs are some of the most efficient people, so learn how to work best with them. Find out how they like to communicate: is it in person, via email or text? What is the best time of day to reach them? When do they tackle their hardest tasks? Do they like to collaborate or problem solve independently.
2. Have an opinion…when they ask for one. No one likes a peanut gallery, especially an entrepreneur. Use the time you aren’t spouting answers to observe what is happening within the business. This allows you to formulate strong opinions and ideas, so when they ask for your input, you will have an insightful response.
3. Have a pulse on the company, and the people within it. Understand the culture of the organization holistically, and who contributes to it. Most entrepreneurs are fanatical about culture, but many can’t be in the office as much as they’d like. Be their eyes and ears within the organization, and bring ideas for ways to rejuvenate the culture.
4. Be a doer. Entrepreneur's don't have enough time in the day, so they surround themselves with people who will get shit done. Bring solutions instead of problems, and act on the things you can without approval from above.
5. Take copious amounts of notes. This will help you remember their stance on issues, how they attack a situation or problem and how they convey a difficult concept. Note who they rely on inside and out of work. Understanding these things makes it more likely you will think and operate like them, increasing the likelihood they will entrust you with more.
6. Always ask what you can do to help. Entrepreneurs want people who will make their lives easier. Always offer to help and bring tangible things you can help with. Know what’s on their plate and what you can tackle. Then be sure to communicate your progress.
7. Identify their idiosyncrasies. Know them and embrace them. If they are nuts about organization, you know a clean workspace is key. If they hate the term work-life balance, eliminate it from your vocabulary. Know what they are passionate about and what makes them tick.
Whether you are working for a 2 month old start up, or a more established company where the founder is still involved in the day to day, these tips are sure to set you up for success and strengthen your relationship with the key decision maker.
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