With so many big graduate companies vying for your attention, it can be easy to overlook the smaller companies when you are planning your future. Yet this could be a massive mistake as they offer big opportunities!
We caught up with Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, to find out more about start-ups and the benefits of working at one…
What is start-up culture?
Business culture in start-ups is usually seen one of two ways: the 100 hour work weeks or the breakfast bar and sleeping pods of Google. Luckily, most start-ups are a nice balance of the two with more relaxed working environments but the expectation that you’ll go above and beyond as part of your role. Along with all the company socials and charity events found in most corporate jobs, you may also get Friday beer nights and a greater emphasis on mingling between teams with lunch and learns.
The actual working environment involves a lot more independence by employees being able to create their own process and take on responsibility themselves. These are core values in most start-ups as it encourages innovation rather than following a script.
What does ‘start-up culture’ mean at ClickMechanic?
Our key values as a team are independence and transparency. These values drive how ClickMechanic employees collaborate together in creating a better product. A traditional way of doing this has been to hold monthly update meetings with the entire company present. These forums allow every team to feedback ways they have succeeded, failed, and upcoming projects they aim to work on. It is a good reflection of our practices in general that allow any new intern to contact everyone from other teams or the founders with questions and suggestions. The trust that is put into our staff is rewarded by fresh ideas and determined work.
As the business scales, how do you maintain the start-up culture?
By empowering employees, their ideas can feed straight back into the company, shifting how their team and the wider company work. Every idea has some nugget of gold, even the silly ones, as they can hint to deeper thoughts and feelings. Reading into concerns and noticing patterns around the workplace have definitely helped us stop some roadblocks between teams forming.
As the team has grown, there have introduced several methods to help teams collaborate on projects or just catch some lunch together to bump heads. Good ideas are constantly falling out that change the product or the site which is invaluable.
Do you miss anything about the early days of ClickMechanic?
There are many stories of early start-up life – working sleepless nights and weekends – and they are generally true. Your main aim in the early days is to launch quickly, learn, and iterate on what you have created. Pouring sweat and sore eyes into the project lead to incredible personal achievements when milestones are hit.
The breakthroughs, record days, and partnerships were all self-propelled in the early days which definitely makes them special. Our journey through two employees in a living room, to four in a co-working space, to the 20-30 people in three offices has been an incredible journey and has brought unique challenges at each stage.
If you want to find out more about the big opportunities an SME or start-up could offer you, we are here to help! Visit our dedicated webpage: www.aston.ac.uk/sme, join in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #AstonSMEs or come and speak to us in the Careers+Placements Centre. Don’t forget, you can also explore a range of placement and graduate opportunities at SMEs on Aston Futures.