The Start-Up Culture: 5 things we could learn

Startups today are gaining momentum and are also getting a lot of attention for the novelty and zeal they bring. They are also creating enormous employment opportunities. We also see more individuals inclined towards joining a startup or incubating their own idea to start a company (“startup”).

Let’s look at this short list of learning we could use to our benefit from how startups operate today:

Get your hands dirty! We all know how ants collectively gather to build their own mansion from start to finish. Similarly in a startup one has to be willing to get their hands dirty to set up a strong foundation during the initial tough times in order to sustain long term growth. In most scenarios cash is precious in any start up and money is hard to come by. One has to watch that burn rate which forces you multi task often. It gives you tremendous exposure to the various departments of the company and how they operate. Getting involved in various functions of the company makes you versatile.

Risk is the name of the game! It is the essence of any start up, one needs to be passionate about the idea and consider taking calculated risks. Wherever there is an involvement of a new concept, product or a target audience, risks and uncertainties are like Siamese twins tied at the hip. As the famous saying goes, “Years of hard work makes you look like an overnight success”. Most often people only see the success at the end of a long road of risks, uncertainties and hard work. One has to learn to take risks as more often than not it pays dividends eventually.

It’s all about relationships! It is almost all about who you know than what you know. Startup’s and the processes behind them tend to teach you a lot about relationships,  whether you are dealing with clients, teams, vendors, free lancers, bankers, financers etc. One has to invest a lot in these relationships to make things work. Often times, friends and family act as the initial clients or tend to open doors to something that may end up being big in the future. This in itself is a huge learning.

Expect the Unexpected! Startup’s often are a result of one great idea or a passionate objective. However, no matter how well you have planned and thought through, be ready to hit some bumps along the way leading to several course corrections. Akin to an aircraft which takes off, hits several air pockets and turbulence before reaching steady altitude. You may even turn out to be a completely different business from what you originally envisaged or set out to do. This teaches you to be nimble, flexible and think on your feet.

Have fun while you get it done!  One of the best things about a startup is its culture which is often chaotic and inherently fun!! This is the result of a few people who perhaps know very little about each other getting together for a common cause and strive hard to make it a success. Long hours at work, innovative thought processes, mentality of getting things done at any cost, touching successes and failure from close quarters all lead to an environment which is dynamic and gratifying. “Have fun while you get it done” often becomes the mantra. Even long arduous days seem like a blur as there is personal commitment, attachment to the cause and a sense of achieving something. Even the early hires tend to identify closely with the founders and the sense of accomplishment often overrides bigger pay checks and fancy work environments.

Clearly there is nothing better than building something from scratch or being a part of it!

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