What Small Business Leaders Can Learn From Today’s Startups

By Emily Burton

For college grads in the market for jobs these days, the decision is no longer all about finding that “dream” entry-level position at a big company. While the traditionally coveted spots at Fortune 500 companies or widely-recognized firms have evergreen appeal, more and more young people are starting to gravitate towards jobs at startups. Many up-and-coming professionals desire opportunities in energetic, collaborative business environments in lieu of a more rigid corporate atmosphere.

If you’re already rolling your eyes about how startups are just “so millennial,” let me stop you right there. There are many specific reasons why startups are so attractive in today’s job market, and their allure is definitely not limited to 20-somethings.

Small business owners can take into account some of the factors that make startups so attractive to job seekers. Here are some of the top reasons young minds are flocking to startups, and how your small business can learn from their example.

Company Culture

Company culture is one of the leading reasons startups are valued in today’s job market. Startup company culture is a lot more than just happy hours and ping pong tables (although these perks are great). Many startups hire employees for their values and personalities rather than simply their resume and credentials, which makes for a magnetic and dynamic workplace. It is this personality-driven business model that drives the distinct company cultures of startups and sets them apart from many corporations.

Having team lunches every week is one way startups create an environment that promotes collaboration across divisions, and this can be an easy practice to implement in your small business. For example, at Fueled, an eight-year-old startup and leading app development agency, every other Thursday is “Pizza and Presentations” day, where free lunch is provided and employees have the opportunity to present their various projects to the team.

As a small business owner, spending time establishing your values, fostering cross-company collaborations, and hiring for character can help make your company culture stand out to potential employees.

Creativity and Innovation

By default, you have to be a pretty creative and inventive individual to found a successful startup. Because most startups are scrappy young ventures, their employees are often encouraged to share their ideas with founders and top management to help the company advance and be successful. Employees who work for larger companies usually don’t have the opportunity to report directly to the CEO, which is why many young creatives prefer startup jobs.

As a small business, it is important to maintain transparent relationships with employees and encourage them to provide input. This will not only help you develop new ideas for your business, but by giving your employees room to be creative, it will make them feel valued at work.

Valuable Experience & Diverse Work

At startups, employees are provided leadership opportunities that transcend traditional business models. The opportunity to work with so many people regardless of their role at a startup is a quality that sets startups apart from other types of companies.

This means that startup employees have the chance to wear many hats and gain valuable and diverse work experiences.

At your small business, you can take a page out of the startup handbook by giving your employees the opportunity to take on responsibilities that may transcend their prescribed roles.

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Emily Burton is a content writer on the marketing team at Fueled, a leading app strategy and development agency in NYC. At Fueled, Emily contributes to the company blog site, assists with social media efforts, and creates other shareable content. Emily is passionate about reporting on tech news, researching up-and-coming creatives in the industry, and writing about app trends.