4. Get to know new management.
When you’re working with a startup on the ground floor, you’re working closely with the founders. You might think that as long as the CEO knows how great you are, you have security. Not necessarily.
Your relationship with the CEO won’t matter when there’s a new C-suite exec, VP or Director in place who’s not aware of your history, skills, and successes. Therefore, it’s critical to ask for introductions when a new manager joins the organization. Schedule a lunch meeting and do what you can to make your accomplishments visible.
5. Emphasize your past history.
When a business is adding hundreds of employees a year, don’t underestimate the value of being able to provide historical background to new employees and management.
Remember that you’re intimately familiar with what worked and didn’t work in the past. Take the time to help out new team members; your efforts will pay dividends by establishing you as a key resource.
6. Nurture relationships across all departments.
You never know what department may need your services down the road. For example, I typically work with marketing departments, but at my “rocket ship” client, I recently began handling projects for another department with a different set of team members and needs.
As startups grow, inevitable departmental boundaries translate into less information sharing. This means it’s up to you to make your presence and services known. Cultivate relationships throughout the company by attending social functions and making yourself visible. You never know where a casual conversation may lead.
7. Don’t be afraid to walk away.
Whether you’re a full-time employee or longtime independent contractor, it can be difficult to make large changes within an existing engagement. If you want to change or expand the type of work you’re doing, sometimes the best strategy is to leave.
By walking away, you gain the opportunity to grow with other clients and gain new skills. When the time is right, pitch your return. With your prior history and your new expertise, you’ll be able to command responsibilities and compensation far greater than the incremental steps had you stayed. For this approach to work, though, you can’t burn any bridges and will need to develop your skills while you’re gone.
The needs of a 300-employee Series C business are vastly different from that of a seed funded startup. To stay relevant as your clients grow, you don’t have to scale at the same level; you just need to figure out how to stay on the rocket ship by developing your skills, finding niches within the client’s organization, and doing what you can to keep your accomplishments front and center.
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Rebecca Reeve is founder of Rsquared Communication, a boutique tech PR firm that specializes in B2B SaaS products.
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