The Startup Payoff Is Long-term


Without a long-term mindset, you’re not likely to survive in an entrepreneurial company either as a founder or early employee. I recently heard a great story from a local startup that illustrates this point; for the purpose of anonymity I’ll call them Growth Inc.

When Growth Inc. was first created, the founders were open to adding one more person to the founding team. One individual in particular reached out to them after seeing their crowd funding campaign, we’ll call him Bob. He had an impressive corporate background and had an even more impressive startup success. After several years in a corporate job he quit, leveraged some of his contacts to roll out a new product nationwide at Best Buy, and then sold the company.

Bob’s success was in the same industry as Growth Inc, and he seemed like a perfect fit. Not only was he excited about the idea, but he also offered to invest a small amount of his own money. They quickly brought him on as a founder.

Almost immediately, Growth Inc. was concerned at how Bob was overly focused on a short-term payoff. He negotiated hard for a bigger-than-usual salary claiming that he had a higher burn rate than the other founders. Although the other founders were a little annoyed, the logic was sound, so they gave him more money. Shortly after raising their first round of financing, Bob was again hyper focused on a salary increase. Growth Inc. quickly realized that Bob was hyper focused on his current lifestyle, and a short-term payoff.

This story doesn’t end well. Bob left the company within a few months of the funding round and wanted the new investors to buy his investment back at a premium. The new investors didn’t like that idea and to this day the situation is not resolved.

In general, there is nothing wrong with people who are focused on short-term money. That mindset is totally understandable, but not in the context of a startup. Why? Because startups don’t have money. Yeah, the headlines make it seem like they are flush with cash, they raise millions from wealthy investors and “there is more where that came from,” but the fact is startups have to put that money to work, they have to put it to growth. If they can’t grow amazingly fast on a small amount of cash, they die.

What is true for founders is true for early employees. Everyone in a small startup needs to buy into the vision, they need to buy into the long-term payoff. Growth Inc. learned its lesson. They now judge job candidates by how they choose compensation. They offer potential employees either a salary heavy option or a equity heavy option and see which one they pick.

If your thinking about working in, or launching a startup, make sure your passionate about the idea and the vision. If you’re just there for the paycheck, get another job.

About The Author

Ben currently works as a senior developer and technical business consultant outside of Boulder, Colorado.

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About Buink

Buink Web Development is a development shop founded in 2009 by Ben Buie. For years, Ben built and modified web assets for clients in Utah. In 2011, he moved the company to Colorado and in 2015 he started taking on new clients full-time.

Buink’s Core Values:

  • Cost effective technology (with business strategy in mind)
  • Eloquent, maintainable code
  • Responsive and transparent communication

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Dave G.
Dave G.
14:05 13 Aug 23
Buink is a great place to work, as well as a great place to have quality software written. I originally contracted Buink for some web development, and it worked out so well we began working together on many different projects. Definitely an honest transparent company that needs to be considered for... your software more
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Dru M.
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Tom S.
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I reached out to Buink after finding Ben’s name in a local developer/consultant listing in 2017, and I have to say, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with Buink. Ben consistently understands not just the development task laid in front of him but the business application behind the task. I’ve... never felt more comfortable with a development team than I do with Buink. I truly feel Ben and his team are integral partners in the success of my more
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Marilyn F.
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I could not recommend Buink Web Development more highly. Ben and his team have recently developed a budgeting app for me (both web and IOS). I have had the opportunity of working with them for over a year and I am extremely happy with the results.I would say that the biggest plus for me is that I... trust Ben completely. From the very first, Ben has helped me make decisions that were in the best interest of my company. I have never felt like he is taking advantage of me. Ben does his best to keep the whole process very open and upfront. I have really appreciated that.I tell people all the time that I love my developers. And I do. I'm very happy that I chose to use Buink to develop my apps. It was the best business decision I could have made.If you are looking for someone to develop a website or app, I strongly suggest choosing Buink Web Development. They are fantastic!Marilyn Ference, President, Defend Your Money, LLCread more
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