Scared to join a startup?

By Ojas Sharma   |    41 Comments
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Scared to join a startup?
Bangalore: India has become the Silicon Valley of the east and a nurturing ground for startups but these startups are often targeted with wrong assumption and myths. The most common myth that an applicant assumes is that working for startup is risky and unsecure. Viswanath "Vishy" Ramachandran, CTO of Webaroo said that this is not true as it completely depends on the company a person joins. Sometimes it happens that employees working for big companies will get thrown out for not performing. While many employees might not be able to grow in some big companies.

Many times applicant shy away from working in a startup thinking that it is not the correct time to work for a startup. Also, applicants sometimes carry a mindset that if they join a startup they will get rich. There is no denying that if you start working in a startup and stick to the company for few years, you will find yourself at a good position (if the startup does well). But Vishy points out a critical issue stating, "There is nowhere to hide in startup. In big companies maybe you can go unnoticed without performing. But when it comes to startups you have to perform."

Employers also have a tough time in attracting good talents. An employer should be able to share his vision and passion with the applicant. The biggest mistake that many startup companies make is by handing over the hiring process to HR and recruiting companies. Hiring process should be handled by senior management officials, if not the founder, to instill the confidence in applicant. Even though budget is a concern for startups but hiring the correct talent is very essential for startups. Vishy advises employers to make sure that they are hiring the correct people with correct motivation. Also, applicants who require excessive order and structure should be avoided as things are mostly unstructured in startups companies and the role and responsibilities of an employee may change from time to time.

Kiran Anandampillai, Director Engineering for OnMobile has experiences of working in a startup, which has now been converted into a big company. OnMobile is now a public company and he has seen the company grow from 30 employees to around 1000 employees. "The organization needs to keep evolving as it starts to scale," he advises.

Anandampillai also said that going for experienced applicants every time would not help a startup. "We hired many freshers and about 50 percent of them are still with us," he added. Anandampillai opined that below par salary offer in a start-up would not work. Also, he firmly believes that just high passion culture cannot be sustained. The managers will have to hire new recruits as the company grows and they need to personally make changes to make sure that the old staff and the new recruits are comfortable with each other.

Kanwar Jit Singh, Principal Architect of Tejas Network strongly believes that people who want to build a company should focus on fundamental. The senior management should be clear about their products and company. Also, he pointed out that founders should be able to cultivate a culture in their organization and should avoid interference with other's work. "If you try to micromanage and tell them (employee) what to do, then you will be a failure," he added.

"Appreciate the importance of selling your product. Technology minded people won't be able to understand the difficulty of sales," said Ashish Gupta, Managing Partner of Helion Advisors. He cautions startups to give sales a high priority, especially if they are technology product startups. A company should never be too engrossed in its product and however good a product is, the revenue only comes from sales.

NASSCOM, the software industry's apex body, has taken many initiatives to support startups. NASSCOM Product Conclave and Expo 2009, held in Bangalore, is one such initiative, which covered many sessions to tackle the problems faced by startups. The session called 'Startup Jobs for Dummies! - Myths, facts and opportunities' was targeted to clear out certain myths faced by the early stage organizations as well as the applicant who are contemplating a job offer from a startup company.

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