Startup career: 9 tips for you to grow with the company + an action plan to get there

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Discover some lessons that will help you to be an above-average professional with good growth opportunities

It is increasingly common for young professionals to decide not to start their careers in a traditional way, such as in trainee programs at large companies, in order to have the experience of working in a startup. And there are some reasons for that: the growth of the market and investments in startups, and also the proposal for an innovative and more relaxed environment.

According to a study by Lavca (Latin American Association of Venture Capital Funds) published in Folha de São Paulo , in 2017 the amount invested in Brazilian startups by venture capital funds was US$ 860 million – a growth of 207% compared to to 2016.

In the first half of 2018 alone, Brazil won its first three unicorns (companies with an estimated value of US$1 billion), which are 99, PagSeguro and Nubank. Which shows that the market is increasingly promising.

In addition, the benefits of a “cooler” space also weigh on the choice to enter this universe: innovative environment, space for experimentation, flexible schedules and even snacks, puffs and video games are some of the benefits that have been shown to be frequent in new companies .

Startup career: know what to expect

Behind a startup there is a need to validate a business model and make it grow. To have space in the market, the new company needs to have an innovative proposal for its target audience and structure a business model that is very attractive to potential investors.

This is not an easy task. A study by the Startup Farm accelerator published in Época Negócios shows that 74% of startups close after five years of existence and 18% before they are two years old. For those who survive, the challenge is to grow the business, which means doubling and even tripling in size in short periods of time. And it all hurts. Really hurts. It is a process of hard work, uncertainties and many changes along the way.

Challenging, isn’t it? But here comes the greatest opportunity: to be part of the dream and have the chance to grow together with the company to make it come true . For me, this is the biggest gain of all – much bigger than snacks or any other treat.

However, to grow and make the company grow, it is necessary to be well prepared.

Here at Blue World City, we always say that we are on a rocket for our speed of growth. As a leader in the Services area, I am part of the selection process. And I always tell candidates in the final interview: “to be part of the rocket you need to be at rocket speed”. In other words, if you want to work in an above-average company, you also need to be an above-average professional. A fair bargaining chip, isn’t it?

And then comes the question: “what do I do to be an above average professional and thus have good growth opportunities?”.

It is necessary to go beyond technical knowledge

Everyone knows that to be a good professional it is necessary to have a minimum of technical knowledge of the function they will perform. Life prepares us for this with technical schools, colleges and postgraduate courses.

However, what few people see is that there are behaviors and attitudes that make the difference when it comes to being an excellent professional, above all others. We can all have technical knowledge, but whoever will do well is someone who knows how to reconcile it with the correct attitudes and behaviors that pave the way.

Not working at a startup? Know that these tips are for anyone, because even in other types of companies we can have attitudes that make us grow. So read on and I know it will make sense to you too. 🙂

Right attitudes to grow professionally

Before talking about attitudes, I’m going to talk a little about myself so you can understand why I see I can talk about this subject.

Five years ago I had the opportunity to enter the Customer Success area of RD, when we were starting to structure this team. I’ll be honest in saying that I had no idea what CS was, but I knew the opportunity was good, and it made sense to me because I had been in the Digital Marketing market for a few years , RD’s core business.

Well, from those who didn’t know what CS was, today I lead our Services area and this year I received the title of Top 100 Global CS Strategists , in addition to having the opportunity to speak at the biggest Customer Success event in the world, Pulse  in San Francisco.

Of course I still have a lot to grow, but I’m proud of where I already am, much further away than many people with similar opportunities. And for me it is clear that some attitudes led me to this achievement.

Also as a leader, I work daily with many other young people on my team. During these years, I’ve seen many stand out and others not so much. Watching them I also learned some interesting tips.

Without further ado, I share with you some of the points I consider important for growth:

1. Your career is yours: don’t wait for anyone to think for you

This is the zero point. Employees often expect the company to trace the entire path for them, whether it is a defined career plan or the support of their direct leader.

These things help, of course, but make no mistake: no one can – and won’t – walk the path for you. Because let’s face it: the most interested in your career is you, isn’t it?

So don’t expect your leader to plan his career and execute the plan, as that’s not his role. A good leader helps to chart the path, but you are the only one to follow.

Knowing this, take the reins of your professional growth now and let’s go ahead!

2. Keep the rules of the game clear: you are there to bring results

I put this point in the following way: some professionals, especially the younger ones because they are new to the market, do not understand the rules of the game well.

But it’s simple, if you were hired for a function, it’s because it solves a problem and brings results for the company. No matter how big or small the impact, it is to make this company grow.

No one is doing you a favor by giving you a job just so you can get a salary, and neither are you paying a monthly fee to make things your way. On the contrary, what is expected of you in this exchange is your work and dedication, so that both parties gain.

So, to maintain this win-win relationship, the more ROI you bring to the company, the better – and the greater your chances of standing out.

3. Be the solution, not the problem

Let’s face it: no company is perfect, be it big or small, public or private. In a startup it’s no different. Everything needs to be built and rebuilt as it grows, often with the plane in flight. It’s a lot of work to be done, all the time. So, the moment you come across something that isn’t right, don’t point fingers. Instead, suggest solutions. And preferably run this solution.

I can give you a personal example here: when I entered the RD there were 20 people (today we are about 700). We were still starting, that is, a lot to be done. I clearly remember seeing that several processes were still not done when I joined, like a good onboarding of new contributors.

I’m easy with processes and that’s why I pointed out the problems to my leader, believing that I was helping to map them out. It was an attitude that I believed was correct and even made me feel good. Until one day he looked at me and said: “ I already know about all these problems, Lary, but what’s up? What will you do for them? ”. This impacted me deeply, as that was when I realized that my attitude was not at all positive, as it was not helping to resolve it.

From then on I changed completely: today, instead of pointing fingers, I try to resolve the opportunities I find, often without even passing them on.

If you have a leadership role, you will find that this becomes even more essential, as each time you grow up the management ladder, more problems you have to solve. And that’s what you’re there for. The more problems you can solve without scaling, the better you’ll be doing your part.

4. Collaborate, don’t compete

There is an old thought that dictates that to grow you need to know more than your competitors, not sharing good practices so that others don’t grow. This thought, however, is increasingly losing strength and even turning into a negative attitude in the eyes of several companies.

In a startup, collaboration is very important, super valuable. We are always together for a common goal and it is only with a united team that we can get out of place – even more if the company is just starting.

Whenever you can, share what you know, supporting colleagues to grow. This even creates a “current of good”, where those who are helped want to help later (I’ve seen a lot of this here in Resultados Digitais). And whoever shares ends up becoming a reference for others, which also helps to stand out and grow.

5. See the big picture

Something I consider serious: not being able to understand the whole strategy because I just stay in your place, looking at your own navel. If this happens, you may have trouble growing.

I will give an example: if something in the structure of the company changes and you cannot see beyond yourself, understanding the strategy behind it, you will only see the impact for yourself, without understanding the whole. As a result, you become frustrated and may find it difficult to accept the changes – making a bad impression on others. You suffer from looking only at yourself and others suffer from your inflexibility.

Therefore, being aware of what happens and also empathizing with others, such as leaders and decision makers, helps you to be aligned and also to buy ideas more easily. Of course, here, too, we hope that the leaders will do well in this role of providing the necessary transparency whenever possible.

A good way to see the big picture is to be close to your leader as well as key people in other areas. Thus, you will understand more about the business in general, opening your horizons and facilitating paths.

6. Raise your own bar

Here we return to the point of companies that want to stand out in the market – who knows, until reaching the great common dream of being a unicorn. This is not for everyone: growing big and fast is for companies that are dedicated above the average. Consequently, this goes for whoever is inside them.

But how will you stand out if you’re delivering exactly what others are? That makes you average, doesn’t it? Here at RD we have been talking a lot about the term “ Raise the bar ”, by which we want to encourage everyone to be even better, above average, towards the exceptional. However, this is not an easy path, which requires above-average dedication as well.

How can I raise my own bar? A simple way is to think: if I already do my job well, how can I do it even better? Can I improve my knowledge by taking courses and reading books? It’s an option. Or is there more that I can absorb beyond my main role?

It’s worth talking to colleagues and leaders to find activities that not only contribute more and solve more problems, but that make you develop as a professional.

7. Don’t look for a comfort zone: on the contrary, take the opportunity to test yourself!

The cool thing about a startup career is that you get the chance to do a lot of different things. If you see this as an opportunity, you have a lot to grow!

Many people end up looking for the comfort zone for safety reasons. And that’s okay, that’s natural for profiles looking for stability. However, we cannot fail to see that perhaps throwing ourselves into the fire will make us grow more.

Hence the question: if you continue doing exactly what you started the year doing, without changing anything, how much will you have grown by the end of the year? And if he had taken a little more risk, would he have grown a little more?

If you have the opportunity, live new experiences. It can be a project, an initiative. Or it could be a new job. If you have room to experiment, try it. Maybe in another company you wouldn’t have so much opportunity to test yourself – and get to know yourself to know which way you really want to go.

8. Accept feedback – and make lemonade out of lemon

Let’s face it: no one is perfect. Not you, not me, not your boss, not your dear mother. We all have qualities as well as flaws, which I always prefer to see as opportunities for improvement. But the point is: we all have something (or a few) that we could be better.

So if you get constructive feedback, know it’s for your good. When could you improve on something if you weren’t aware that you needed to improve?

Important: when receiving feedback, be calm, with an open mind. If you get defensive, justifying or denying yourself, note that you will leave the conversation exactly as you entered it, and so what do you get out of it? Now, if you are willing to listen and accept the feedback, you are giving yourself an opportunity to be better. And that’s just amazing.

Also remember: it’s not always comfortable to give feedback, so empathize with the effort the other person has made to give feedback and help you grow. After all, if she didn’t care about you why would she spend her time trying to help you?

Don’t receive constant feedback? So it’s time to go after them! As I said, don’t put your own growth in the hands of others: if you lack data for you to know yourself, go after them, asking colleagues and leaders. Having the habit of giving good feedback is the best incentive for your leaders and colleagues to do the same.

9. be grateful

Above all, always be grateful for what you already have.

It is very common that we always want to look ahead: how much more I can grow, what is my next challenge, what is my next promotion. However, this has a perverse effect, which is not enjoying the present moment well, creating an anxiety to think that we are always in the wrong place. This is bad for several reasons: in addition to making you unhappy, it makes you lose motivation to go further. So, no matter what happens or how much you have to dedicate yourself, be grateful for what you already have in your hands.

Being grateful also brings more joy to everyday life. For example, I do an exercise every morning: instead of waking up thinking about all my problems for the day to come, the first thing I do is make a list of 5 things I’m grateful for.

It can be something simple: the day having woken up in the sun, the sleep well slept, an exciting meeting that I will have. This simple exercise makes my mornings much lighter, and therefore my whole day. 🙂

Inside Sales and Customer Success: areas that keep on hiring

Areas already consolidated in Silicon Valley, especially in the SaaS market, two relatively new careers that are on the rise in Brazil are Inside Sales and Customer Success. Who knows, maybe they are your gateway to the universe of startups?

1. Inside Sales

For Resultados Digitais, “ Inside Sales  is the type of sale made from within the company. The salesperson takes advantage of technology to hold meetings at a distance, reducing travel costs and increasing productivity. It is ideal for sales with a higher level of complexity.” The idea is to be able to optimize an operation, with great cost reduction and, at the same time, high efficiency and sales conversion rates.

For Digital Results, selling is “science”, not art. This means that through extensive training and empowerment of people, processes, proper tools and data analysis, it is possible to make the sales process predictable and scalable.

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Maybe it’s getting clearer what Inside Sales is  , but going deeper into the topic, I wanted to tell you what Inside Sales is NOT:

  • Follow a list of random contacts trying to sell to them;
  • Push a solution or product without verifying the need;
  • Recite a pitch mechanically without paying attention to the person’s needs;
  • Do everything to sell a product to any prospect;
  • Interrupt someone at inconvenient times to force a sale;
  • Definitely not telemarketing!

In RD, the Inside Sales area is subdivided into the following teams:

  1. Sales Development Representative (Pre-Sales):  is the area responsible for the so-called “lead qualification”. Lead, who is a potential customer and has been attracted to your business through the efforts of Marketing or the pre-sellers themselves. The main objective of the Pre-Seller , or SDR as it is known in the market, is to contact the lead and, in a consultative way, understand the possibility of him obtaining success with the purchase of your product/service.
  2. Sales Representative:  in turn, these are the Sellers. After qualifying the lead by SDR, it becomes an Opportunity. Also in a consultative manner, the Sales Rep will be responsible for contacting this Opportunity and trying to close the sale , through techniques such as Spin Selling, for example.
  3. Sales Partner:  RD also has the Sales Partner area, a type of sale made through Partners. It works like this: SDRs Partners have the responsibility to qualify leads in the same way, but in this case they are an Agency that has the potential to use RD’s product with their own clients. Once qualified, the opportunities go into the hands of the so-called Hunter, who takes care of closing the partnership with that agency. Once a RD partner, the Farmers team helps that Partner start selling to new customers. This entire process represents a type of Indirect Sales through Channels or Partners.

The day-to-day and routine of a person from the Inside Sales team is very busy, with a lot of dynamism and adrenaline. They contact a variety of leads and opportunities weekly, and have bold and challenging goals.

2. Customer Success

Customer Success (CS) is, as the name says, the area responsible for ensuring Customer Success.

According to Guilherme Lopes , co-founder of Resultados Digitais, “it is a strategy that emerged with SaaS companies to keep their customers longer and thus retain more revenue”. It is an area that, through high quality consultative service, has as its main objective to make the client achieve success. Its goals are linked to the customer’s perception of service quality and customer retention.

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At RD, the Customer Success area is divided into the following professionals:

  1. Implementation Success Manager: As  soon as the customer signs a contract with RD, he starts being serviced by ISM. This is responsible for ensuring initial customer adoption of the tool, and in about 4 to 6 weeks, will ensure the implementation of the first strategies within RD Station Marketing. It is an extremely didactic type of service, whose main objective is to make the customer reach their first goals.
  2. Customer Success Manager:  is the account manager of that customer. Through Quarterly Success Meetings (RTS) , it will serve the client in a consultative manner, reviewing the client’s performance within RD Station Marketing, and ensuring that he will continue to see value in the tool. There is a very strong relationship work but, at the same time, it will always be necessary the ability to deepen technically.
  3. Customer Support: they  are responsible for day-to-day customer service. Do you know that question or problem with the tool that may eventually arise? The customer is more than welcome to open a ticket with RD Support, or if you prefer, seek assistance through Chat or Phone.

The day-to-day and routine are also very dynamic, as in the Sales team. The possibility of serving companies from the most diverse segments and businesses brings an unusual global vision for those who work with CS. Today you attend a university, tomorrow an e-commerce perfumery, and the day after tomorrow a game store. Therefore, passion for service is essential and openness to know different businesses is a great prerequisite.

RD University has also developed a free , certified Introduction to Customer Success Course . In addition, if you are interested in the Digital Results business, the also free Inbound Marketing Introduction Course is recommended .

RD recently announced the opening of more than 100 vacancies focused on the areas of Sales, CS and Technology.

To learn more about the company and keep an eye out for opportunities at Resultados Digitais, access our Opportunities Wall.

Action Plan: know how to accelerate your growth with a clear plan

The most important thing to grow is to have a planned plan, with clear goals and deliverables. This brings organization and also prioritization of what should be done so that we don’t have too much on our plate, not clear on what to do beforehand and how to do it.

In this format, see how the organization works:

  1. Points for improvement:  here you choose what focus you want to give to development. Simple example: Improve my communication;
  2. Action to be taken:  there you can have one or more actions that attack the same improvement point. In the example above, I could have actions like “Give feedback more clearly” and “Communicate more smoothly in meetings”. These are actions that I can perform and that will bring a clear gain on the point I want to improve;
  3. KPI :  would be the performance indicators, to determine our goals. In the feedback example, I could put that my indicator will be “give 5 clear feedbacks weekly”. Thus, I can measure whether my action had the expected result or not;
  4. Frequency: simply saying if it is something you will do once or more, according to what makes sense with the proposed action;
  5. DDL (deadline) : if you have a final date for execution, fill in to know until when you need to execute each action;
  6. Status:  Here it is for both you and your leader (who ideally should follow your Action Plan) to know how things are going to discuss in your conversations.

Simple, clear and very effective. How about putting it into practice?

A tip is not to make your Action Plan a little monster: choose up to 3 points of improvement and some actions (I suggest a maximum of 4) at each point. Otherwise, you run the risk of overloading yourself with actions and becoming frustrated by not doing everything, as well as distracting you from what’s most important. If necessary, talk to your leader and colleagues to help understand priorities.

Finally, my last recommendation: have the discipline to execute it. It is very common to see people making plans and abandoning them right away, without going back to check that what was written is being executed.

However, it is not just the will to make things happen: discipline is essential. “ Discipline equals freedom ”, as writer Jocko Willink says in the book of the same name. It alone leads to realization. With that, keep track of your plan often. I, for example, have a time every Friday to review what I did for the week and organize the steps for the next one.

I hope all the tips were helpful to you. If you already have a career in startup, I hope that with all this reflection, you can evolve faster. If you’re not working yet, I hope you’ve brought clarity to what will await you and how to take advantage of this opportunity even more.

In the end, the puffs and snacks are great, but what will make you happy is seeing your own growth – and the company’s, of course.

 

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