There are expected to be over 600,000 new start ups created in 2016 which will be a record breaking year. Since 2011, the government has called for an enterprise led economy and with the numerous initiatives they’ve set up - like the New Enterprise Allowance - this has been a success.
With so many high growth companies making an impact, more graduates are looking to work in these smaller enterprises. And why not? In terms of hands on experience, it’s second to none. You’ll be immediately handling important tasks which have a real impact. At small start ups you’re likely to be involved in a range of business activities, giving you an excellent range of experience and responsibilities.
Unlike a graduate scheme at a corporate giant, it isn’t always as obvious how to get into a start up. Here are our top tips.
Make the right connections
Opportunities to meet entrepreneurs are endless. Keep an eye out for companies who are expanding or maybe advertising on social media. Get in touch with companies which interest you - you’ll often find that smaller companies are eager to engage with those who show an interest in the company. Plus, there are a number of events and conferences for entrepreneurs which are excellent networking opportunities, including Bright Network High Growth Innovators.
Beyond this, a great place to meet entrepreneurs is in communal workspaces, like Google Campus near Old Street (London). The Old Street roundabout is considered the Silicon Valley of England and there are a number of free (or inexpensive) workspaces full of people trying to launch new tech businesses.
Follow the trends
Start ups tend to follow where there’s innovation and money to be made. You’ll find lots of businesses in new sectors or in sectors where new technology can be implemented to improve the way something works. In the UK, Fintech (finance technology) and food delivery are examples of thriving industries with a number of rapidly growing new businesses. The markets change quickly, but staying on top of trends and researching which starts up are getting large investment will allow you to see where the opportunities are.
Check out specific websites
There are a number of websites which specifically focus on advertising jobs in start ups. The application process for these companies is often shorter and they’re often looking for hungry and creative individuals to bring new ideas into the business. Starting salaries may not be as big as more traditional industries, but opportunities for progression and gaining extra responsibility can be greater.
Start something yourself
There are a growing number of graduates starting businesses straight after university and you could be one of them. If you have an idea, the drive and entrepreneurial flair, working for yourself could be the career path for you. Plus, it guarantees you work after university.
If you’re keen to set up yourself, make sure you’ve thought your idea through properly, ensuring it’s economically viable and it has something which differentiates it from the competition. You’re unlikely to have major responsibilities like a mortgage or a family, making it a good time to take a risk and do something for yourself.
Have you got the skills to join a growing start-up?
- Adaptability: Things can change quickly in start ups. New ideas can be implemented and tested at a fast pace, as you continuously amend your processes to become more effective. If the company is growing at a rapid pace, you’ll also have new people joining, new clients or customers coming on board and widespread changes within the company.
- Creativity: Generating new ideas and producing results within the confines of a small budget is a vital part of working in a start up. Everyone in a growing business will be encouraged to have ideas to drive the company forward, not just the marketing department.
- Negotiation: No matter what your role is, negotiating is essential. If you’re sales focused, convincing customers or clients to try something new and spend money with you is a big challenge. Negotiating good deals from suppliers, for marketing campaigns and even on stationery can help you stretch your budget as far as possible.
- Sales: You may not be required to sell a service or product, but you will need to sell the concept of the business. If it’s a small start up, not many people you meet will know what the company is or does, therefore mastering a concise and simple pitch is essential. Growing companies look for those who have clearly bought into the concept and can communicate the overarching vision effectively.
View our application deadline list for the latest entrepreneurship and start-up graduate schemes.