An environment to observe, experiment, and make mistakes
Before diving in headfirst with an idea of your own, you have to remember that a successful company rides on much more than a brilliant idea. The journey is long and arduous, and there are so many instances in which a company can either succeed or fail.
A company might fail due to founders who don’t communicate, not enough funding, too much funding, product distractions, over hiring, culture issues, neglecting user needs, and beyond. The list goes on and on. Ideally, you’ll find a startup that actually excels at nearly all of the above, so you can learn by example.
Observation is a powerful thing and joining the right startup will be an invaluable window into the workings of a great company. Hopefully, you can walk away with things to emulate when you bring your own idea to life.
You might meet your co-founder and first hires
In the earliest stages, a company is only as promising as its founding team. One of the best ways to build that team is through a network you already know and trust.
If you pick a startup wisely, you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside and hopefully befriend some brilliant people. You’ll understand their work ethic, their strengths, weaknesses, and loyalties. Some of these folks might one day join your forces and get behind an idea of your own. One or two of them might even become your cofounders.
You might even get an investor or two out of it
If the startup you join does exceptionally well, you’ve also have garnered credibility. Whether you pitch to the investors who backed that company, or other VCs later on, that company will be great for your resume. The role you played in that startup’s journey is a great indicator of how well you’ll execute on your own.
There’s even a chance the founders of your previous team will invest in your startup as well. In addition to their financial support, their guidance and mentorship is another invaluable asset.