Scared to join a startup?
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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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Posted by:Santosh - 23 Nov, 2009
21: Hi Ojas
Indeed a nice article, I am also working with a startup and previously worked with a startup. I have an experience of over 3 years of working with startups and contributed enough from what ever I have.
The thing is this, that the startups believe in hiring employees for lesser salaries and they went with some unusual stuff who want to come and go from the office. Where in case they must be very much cautious about hirings.
Startups should hire the employees who must be dedicated towards their work by interest not by force. They must understand the market scenario and analyse that with their company as their own company.
Management should take the responsibility of transparency in their vision and mission, about their policies and business in order to get the trust of employees.
Management should render some of their authorities to some newers in place of oldies only as some young talent may also have some good experience though it is little.
After and all working with startups is good but not all the time, it is excellent always if you understand the business and your responsibilities towards it.
Management should take care of hiring the employees in place hiring stuffs only. The hired person should be capable enough to carry their managerial skills in long run. Every body has potential to work to to take work from others but the way is different. They should learn the way of doing it.
Such are the thing that an startup should keep in mind for future aspects to avoid the emotional fluctuations in growth time.
Posted by:Sumit Kumar Verma - 05 Nov, 2009
22: Very informative article. As a consultant to various start-ups I would advise a due diligence must be conducted about the promoters capability and their background before taking up a job in a start-up company. Start-ups also offer opportunities to work with the promoters directly and in most cases they provides lifetime experiences. Jobs in start-ups are for those who are not satisfied with mere salaries and have some element of entrepreneurial ability within them. I am sure those who would have had the opportunity to work closely with Steve Jobs or Jerry Yang or Narayan Murthy would have lots of stories to tell to their grandchildren.
Posted by:Sandesh Desai - 03 Nov, 2009
23: It would be important for the management of a startup to build a family and not a team. This concept of treating every employee as family member goes a long way in developing a corporate culture which is more dedicated, transparent and will also instill a sense of belonging. This relationship should be maintained day in and day out and not to be practiced only on some special occasions.By this the employees with develop faith in the organization for their long stay and management will also be able to do devote their time, energy and money on growth aspect than spending more on man management.
Posted by:Dr. Vincent - 29 Oct, 2009
Hello, Dr, Vincent
Nice article. well, can you tell me more about "Startup". I wish to join the organization to break the myth.
Ashish Jain Replied to: Dr. Vincent - 29 Oct, 2009
But the same will be a problem when it comes to replacing an old member with more skilled person as the company expand. If you get too emotionally attached with your employee then you might hinder your company's growth
Deepa Replied to: Dr. Vincent - 29 Oct, 2009
26: The article is really good. It has both pros' & cons of startups. Even i am working for a startup company since a year. Acording to me the mangement of startup companies should have a clear vision and mission and shouldn't deviate from it whatever situation arises. I have observed that many of the startup management will deviate from its actions w.r.t thier vision & mission without mentioning or discussing with its team, thus making an employee/s underperform and unsecure of his job. A clear role & responsiblities with neceessary authorities & accountability should be given. Also have a regular progress on individual/team performance and take immediate corrective measures. Else success of the startup will definelty be in question mark? Any one can put more light on this or give me the feedback if i have to correct my self.
Posted by:GMK - 29 Oct, 2009

It’s very nice article for Start-up Company’s management and for those who want to join start-up companies. I am working for Start-up Company from last 4 years and before I have worked for Start-up Company for 10 year. I think those who want to join the company (as technical coz. I am in technical domain) must see the following.

1. Company Management Background
a. Group of Technological people striving to do best in toughest /growing technology area
b. People those running other industry want to enter in IT business
c. Technical People taking financial backup from VC or partnership with sound financial company.
2. The Vision
a. Want to enter in a product/solutions based business for core growing technical market
b. Want to share the big cake. E-Governance , ERP-Development/Implementation, BFSI, Insurance, Process Outsourcing
c. Want to make Add-on products / integration product for a popular product
d. Software Development outsourcing / software testing / product support
3. Mental strength to sustain tough period and ability to understand the attribute of technological business in terms to competition from other vendors, marketing , making association with large companies, execution / implementations, payment realization.
4. Vision of capitalizing initial success
5. Are they over-friendly not strict to principals, process or visions

Benefits of joining Start-up Company
A. You have chance to prove yourself as a captain of winning team
B. You will get self satisfaction for achievements
C. You will get better regard

De-Merits of joining Start-up Company
A. The time may come when your management say “guys , I can arrange the fund for this month only why don’t you get the website development project from your own resource to keeping things on “ (MANGEMENT BACKGROUND A)
B. Management will say “The father (MD running other business) will say to his son (director with technical background) in front of you that “ye company to byaaj bhi nahin kama pa rahee hai, is se to aapno share ko dhandho he chokho “ / this company is not able to earn even interest of the money. Our share business is better than that. (It’s better to invest same money in Infosys) “ (MANGEMENT BACKGROUND B)
C. VC or Financial partner may lose the interest from the company from continues funding because of the loss in other business or may force to technical management to d-rail from the vision to create short term revenue. (MANAGEMENT GROUP C)
D. You may be over satisfied with your achievement, respect in the company/client and may miss to upgrade yourself for the future.
E. Some time it is better to work in environment where some one can say “See this is better idea to execute this task”

Hari Pratap Replied to: GMK - 29 Oct, 2009
28: Hi guys

I am also working for a 'startup' and i have gone threw all the above things mentioned in the aticle. but i would like to add up in the 5-6 para above that " Its the sole responsibility of the Manager or the top officials in a startup to look out and understand what their employees want and should understand them better specially if the case is "the manager's background doesn't matches the product profile and he is not in good financial position.

I hope someone would throw some more light on this with their experiences
Posted by:Raman - 29 Oct, 2009
29: Good Article and I agreed on.....
Posted by:Sathik Khan - 28 Oct, 2009
30: Hi Sharma ,

Its very nice and good knowledgeable article for Start-up companies, past 1 & half yrs am also working at start-up company , am really say regarding in start-up company we will get good Exp and learning skill, its depends on company , is that start-up companies follow the ISO Rules or company standard's if there is no Standards then there only work and come out. for this article is benefit for all the Employees working in and company owner's for start-up
Posted by:Mahesh Dhule - 28 Oct, 2009
31: Really Good one..,This will change ppls mindset.
Posted by:kalyan - 28 Oct, 2009
Really nice one,This will change the thinking of the people who want to join in Start up and good lesson for the owners....
Yadla Niranjan Replied to: kalyan - 29 Oct, 2009
33: hi really nice one
Posted by:vijay - 28 Oct, 2009
34: good one.
Posted by:umesh - 28 Oct, 2009
35: Great article, well researched.
Posted by:rkp - 28 Oct, 2009
36: Nice Article. In my thinking working for a startup is fun. It satifies the hunger of the rtecognisation as in a startup you are recognised very soon for your efforts.
Posted by:Abhay - 28 Oct, 2009
Hi Abhay i just read this article. well, can you tell me more about "Startup". I wish to join this organization to break the myth
Ashwani Kashyap Replied to: Abhay - 28 Oct, 2009
38: If there are good offers, why would not one work in there?
Posted by:Rahul - 28 Oct, 2009
The question is if someone get an offer from big company as well as startup then which one should he pick?
Sachin Replied to: Rahul - 28 Oct, 2009
It depends on the kind of work, kind of freedom given and kind of responsibility and ownership. If you are going to be only a team member, stick to a big company, if you can hold a stake/percentage or have a situtaion where you can participate in strategizing the direction of the product or get more direct customer relationship, then go for the startup.
Kalyan Replied to: Sachin - 28 Oct, 2009
Not always that, on several occasions you will find candidates favoring a so called stable job in a large corp than a dynamic position in the startup. Its best for startups to hire candidates who have a stomach for risks, typically these are the kinds who are more dynamic with an urge to grow.
shomiron Replied to: Kalyan - 28 Oct, 2009