January 5, 2023 | 4 minutes read

A Letter to Startup Employees

The Year Ahead | 2023

Avi Eyal
Managing Partner, Entrée Capital
Maya Benichou
Venture Partner - Organizational Development, Entrée Capital

“The only certain thing in life is change.” - Plato

These are uncertain times for startup employees. Many employees are at a precipice with their jobs on the line.

2022 has left us with many companies that were forced to make deep cuts in resources and expenses trying to become lean and efficient businesses in face of the global economy slowdown, and 2023 promises to be the same or worse. We wrote about this a few weeks ago in our letter to Startup CEO’s.

CEOs and management teams will need to continue making tough choices in order to withstand and emerge from it with strong, resilient companies. Doing less with more means rethinking every aspect of the organization and with HR generally being the biggest expense line in tech companies, this will be the most affected. Such changes are never easy for all involved. Yet, they often pave the way for new opportunities.

Whether you are currently working in a startup, looking for a new role or working on a new idea for a startup, this period holds opportunities for you.

So how can you navigate this period? See below:

👩‍💻 Working in a startup?

  • Be more active and involved. Look for initiatives that you can get involved in and contribute to (as part of your role and beyond).
  • Identify opportunities to step up, develop and grow, both professionally and as a leader. This proven experience will serve you later on once things become more stable.
  • Have a can-do attitude. Positiveness and optimism are highly valued by others in times of stress and uncertainty.
  • Engage in social activities. Take the opportunity to expand and strengthen your relationship with others. Let them get to know you better.
  • Develop financial awareness and understanding. Think and act as if you were the CFO. Be frugal: be more calculated and modest in your budget and your demands. If you aspire to get far in your career, this is a critical capability you will need to develop - the sooner the better!

😵 Expecting OR in the process of lay off?

  • DON’T PANIC and DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY! it can happen to anyone any place these days. You were talented enough to land this job, There will be others who would love to hire you!
  • Check proactively if there are any creative ways to keep you employed: e.g., reducing job percentage, changing position, freelance, internship if you wish to gain skill or experience.
  • Refresh and update your linkedin profile ahead of time. These changes are picked up by crawlers which flag you with recruiters.
  • Share with as many people as possible that you are available and looking for a new position. Opportunities often arise in unexpected places.
  • Be optimistic and positive. Smile, exercise, go out and meet people. You will be surprised by the positive effect it will have on you and others.
  • Empathy. Remember that you are not alone. The person sitting opposite you - your manager (and theirs) – are also struggling just as you are.

🤔 Between jobs:

  • Upskill / Reskill. Focus on the new skills that interest startups in light of the economic challenges and tech trends. Set realistic targets, come up a daily learning plan and stick to it.
  • Expand your network. Join online professional communities, go out and meet new people. Ask each one to give you two additional contacts you should meet.
  • Choose 1–2 personal habits you wish to stop/start/change. Define concrete, measurable targets (e.g start reading 1 hr. each day, start running twice a week, Stop drinking too much coffee etc.).
  • Get involved in a volunteer or charity activity. Beyond the social contribution and the personal satisfaction, it’s a great opportunity to meet more people, open up to new worlds and gain experience to add to your resume.
  • Enjoy the time off. Invest in yourself and in your family. This time will not last too long. Make the best of it!

🧬 Working on a new idea for startup

  • Keep on planning! Don’t let these bad times get you down. There is always room for great companies to emerge.
  • Aim to raise funds (if at all) in late 2023, and until then start bootstrapping your idea. Do a part time gig if you really need the funds - but not at the expense of distraction from your goal of building a startup.
  • Remember that entrepreneurship is like a roller coaster, at the end of every slope there is a rise. It is all just part of the journey!

🤨 Good Luck! 🎯

co-authored by Maya Benichou and Avi Eyal at Entrée Capital.