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Archive for July, 2012

Are you qualified for a start-up?

Posted by Sowmya on July 7, 2012



Entrepreneurship is in fashion now and every third person I meet is either starting-up or planning a start-up soon. The industries are diverse and offerings unique. But like mega corporations, what make a start-up successful are the people it employs, who are its best brand ambassadors.

So you are being wooed by a start-up. Clearly, you are amazing at what you do and have a specialization or expertize. But do you have the attitude for a start-up? Would your temperament fit in a start-up? Will you flourish? Just like entrepreneurship is not everyone’s cup of tea, working for a start-up is not cut out for everyone. Are you qualified to work in a start-up? These questions may just help you decide –

Do you like structure?

Are you a person who likes formalized structure with organizational hierarchy and a formal dress code? Then a start-up may not be the best thing that could happen to you. Start-ups have to thrive on the unstructured. You will not find a start-up which has an approval procedure or an organizational hierarchy. Start-ups come into existence because they believe they can change the world we live in. They are driven by passion, bursts of brilliance and unlimited working hours. They don’t have the patience to wait for a procedure and reporting structure.

Do you need a defined job description?

Does it make you uncomfortable that you do not know what exactly is it that you are expected to do or what defines your role in the company? Then a start-up is not good news to you. Employees do have a core requirement in a start-up but what it thrives on are people who go beyond what is strictly their ‘defined job’. “But this is not my job” won’t earn you any brownie points in a start-up. Your job is simply defined as all activities to ensure the success of the company. While your core job is your key responsibility, you should be pitching in when your company is short of time or people for other tasks.

Do you need a defined career path?

A typical question in an interview is “where do you see yourself five years from now”. And a typical answer is “At the senior management level of a large company such as yours.” So you need a career path to be defined. You need your company to tell you that in five years, you will move from Grade 1 to Grade 2 and to Grade 4 in another five years if you show leadership potential. Then don’t go anywhere near a start-up. A start-up is a baby just born. Just like your five year old will want to be an engine driver one day and a pilot on another, a start-up needs to go through the self-discovery phase. Most successful companies today are not in the business they set out to do when they started. So promising you a senior management position today is as meaningful as your five year old’s promise to take you on his first flight across the Atlantic. You need to evolve with the company, believe in it and grow with it. Who knows? You could be CEO in less time.

Do you like policies and procedures?

Would you like to know the leave policy and medical allowance? Maybe family insurance? Forget it. As a start-up, the focus is on getting the product or service ready and reduce the go-to-market as much as possible. Who has time to formulate a leave policy? On the bright side, you get to take as much leave as you want. But then again, if leave is what you want, maybe you should not be there in the first place. Start-ups believe that employees understand their responsibilities. Big corporations think so too but the sheer size of the team necessitates policies and rules. Get your work done and take a break and get back to work more zestful. That’s the policy.

Do you need work life balance?

That is another buzz word doing the rounds. Can you not fathom working on a Saturday and weekends off are a must? No start-up for you. Much as work life balance is important, a start-up needs more time and effort than a regular job in a big company. A potential client could have only Saturday evening free for you or you could be informed of a big presentation for Monday on a Sunday morning. You don’t think you can tell them to return another day. Working in a start-up does require odd hours, extra hours and then some more. Take a break when you can and get your energy levels up. But every weekend off and a two week long vacation may not always be possible.


Ok, so who should work in a start-up?

  • If you are passionate about what you do
  • If you can spend hours at your job without blinking an eye
  • If you thrive on the unstructured and chaos
  • If you need the creative freedom to work the way you want
  • If you can deliver a knock out product with all that creative freedom


Welcome to the Start-Up World!

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