10 tips for working at a start-up

Preston Giles, Director of Operations at Markaaz gives you his top 10 tips for working at a start-up or small business
Working with a small business or start up. Team photo

Preston Giles, Director of Operations, walks you through his top tips for working with a start-up 

Small businesses play a vital role in our economy, representing over 99% of all businesses in the US.

Working with small businesses can be a rewarding and challenging experience, providing opportunities to make a real impact and contribute to the success of the business. Whether you’re a consultant, service provider, or employee, working with small businesses requires flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to wear multiple hats.

In this context, building strong relationships and collaborating closely with the business owner and team members becomes even more critical. In this article, we’ll offer tips for maximizing your success in this dynamic environment.

  1. Set Priorities – It is essential to set priorities for any item that comes through.  
    Urgent  – Do these tasks as soon as possible 
    Non-Urgent – Complete these items quickly to clear the way for time-consuming matters 
    Time-Consuming – Separate them into smaller tasks and complete them in a timely manner.
    Not Time-Consuming – Complete these items as time allows.   
  1. Schedule appropriately – Realize that as much as you have on your plate, others on your team are just as busy. When you schedule a meeting, ensure the time allocated is appropriate. Planning 30 minutes for a 15-minute discussion is not very productive.    
  1. Don’t procrastinate – Continuously leaving items for later will only build anxiety around completing your tasks on time. It might also lead to forgetting several tasks or dropping the ball on essential items.    
  1. Automate where possible: Being in a start-up, there is always a mountain of work to be done, and the time to do it is often non-existent. This makes it important to automate your workflow as much as possible to take the menial tasks away and allow you to focus on essential matters.  
  1. Take small breaks: It is important to remember that we are all human and need time to breathe and rest. In a start-up, you can quickly get lost in the mountain of work to be completed and forget to take care of yourself. The longer this happens, the worse you will feel and the longer your tasks will take you.    
  1. Take time to relax: As stated above, taking care of yourself is vital. This means taking the time after work to relax and reset for the day ahead.    
  1. Be realistic: Always be transparent with others regarding your time and knowledge so that you can set realistic expectations.    
  1. Be honest: Try to be honest with others about the time you have or don’t have, and most importantly, be honest with yourself.    
  1. Take responsibility: Things will not always go as planned. It is essential to take responsibility for these errors and ensure improvement. This could be either as a supervisor or in your own work.  
  1. Give it your all: Do your best, no matter what it is. In a start-up, you will be asked to investigate many tasks, files, processes, etc., and the team must deliver. Utilize those around you; if that is not possible, find the information you need to accomplish your task. Most of all, ensure that even if you don’t know what you are doing, you do it as best you can.    

Working with small businesses can be a fulfilling and enriching experience. While it can come with its unique set of challenges, the opportunities to make a tangible impact and help grow a business from the ground up are unparalleled.

Ultimately, working with small businesses allows you to be part of a tight-knit community that’s passionate about making a difference, and that’s a rewarding experience in its own right.

Join our small business newsletter for more tips and tricks for small businesses.

Preston Giles, Director of Operations, Markaaz

Preston brings over 13 years of experience across operations, contributing to and leading projects as a developer, business analyst, and product and project manager. Preston was previously a Product Manager with Walmart, where he led the company-wide transition from legacy data stacks to a new cloud-based platform, effectively saving the company over $15 million a year in operating costs. He is skilled at developing valuable client and vendor relationships, building top-performing teams, and providing the guidance, training, and support necessary to ensure on-time and within-budget delivery. Preston proudly served eight years with the U.S. Air Force.

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