Given their size and capacity to grow very quickly, startups and SMEs can often be structured quite differently to larger, more established companies. This is important to be aware of when joining a business as the structure and size will impact the nature and details of your role. This lesson will help you understand the moving parts of your company and where you might expect to fit into it all.
Despite its massive size Alphabet (Google) has tried to maintain the flat organisational structure, and mentality, of a startup.

Departments overview

As a small company grows the creation of departments will become essential as the business’s tasks and strategies increase in volume and complexity. Establishing departments allows certain functions to be delegated to specific parts of the organisation. We’ll now run through some of the most common departments and cover what each one is typically responsible for in a startup environment.

  1. What does a role in Operations involve?

    This part of the business is responsible for getting things done the day to day running of the business. This includes managing activities that are part of the production of the company’s goods or services. Put simply, their objective is to ensure that the business can operate efficiently.

    Example: An operations role at Deliveroo might involve making sure that the delivery service for customers is as smooth as possible.

  2. What does a role in Marketing involve?

    The marketing team is responsible for promoting the business to drive sales of its product or service through a variety of channels. This involves identifying the different target audiences and working out the best ways to reach them and engage with them.

    Example: A marketing role at Freddie’s Flowers might involve being responsible for driving growth on their online and offline channels through building partnerships and engaging influencers.

  3. What does a role in Design involve?

    Designers are responsible for how something looks (the website, app or product itself) and how customers interact with it. What they do on will depend on the business needs and what the company does but will work on projects that require design elements, from company branding to product design.

    Example: A Designer at Chilly’s Bottles could be responsible for producing the design for the bottles and packaging.

  4. What does a role in Sales involve?

    Unsurprisingly, sales centres around selling! Employees that work in sales are responsible for driving revenue by generating leads, reaching out to them and, ultimately, selling the product or service to them. The sales team will be very goal orientated and reward driven.

    Example: A sales role at Uber Eats might involve being responsible for introducing new businesses to the service and testing new strategies to get them onboard.

  5. What does a role in Business Development involve?

    Although closely linked to sales, the business development function of a business is responsible for developing relationships or strategic partnerships with the leads which the sales team have identified.

    Example: A business development role at Uber Eats would involve creating partnerships with businesses who have already been introduced to their service.

  6. What does a role in Account Management involve?

    An Account Manager will ensure that the businesses customers are getting continuous value from the product or service.

    Example: An Account Manager at TalentPool would be responsible for making sure that clients are setting up their campaign in the best way to attract the right candidates to their role.

  7. What does a role in Customer Service involve?

    Customer service is all about supporting a business’s customers to make sure they have a good experience by answering their questions, dealing with complaints and taking orders.

    Example: A Customer Service role at Mr & Mrs Smith could involve helping customers who have made an error in their booking or who need to cancel their holiday last minute.

  8. What does a role in Tech involve?

    Whilst it’s common for early-stage start-ups to outsource their tech, this will slowly move in-house as the business grows. Developers and Software Engineers are responsible for building the actual product, technology, website or app. Once the team grows to a substantial size, a Product Manager will be hired to manage the team.

    Example: An Engineer at Monzo could be responsible for building new features on their app.

  9. What does a role in Accounting / Finance involve?

    Finance will incorporate all money related aspects of the business. This can range from paying employees’ salaries every month to bigger picture tasks like fundraising.

  10. What does a role in HR involve?

    Human resources is the department that deals with all employee related responsibilities within a company. They are responsible for recruitment, training and maximising overall employee performance.

To learn more about tech check out the following lesson, An Intro to tech!

How a startup operates

In order to access this feature
you need to login to TalentPool

Click here to create a TalentPool account with free unlimited access.
Join TalentPool today to build
your career or grow your team