It is said that a nation looking for growth must multiply its SMEs.
Certainly, it’s a piece of advice that India seems to have taken to heart. A statistical report from 2012 notes that since 1990 more than 3,400 start-ups have sprung up in the country. The report also predicts that by 2015, a thousand more start-ups would have joined the fray. Not an impulsive decision by any measure, most starts-ups are now well thought-out, meticulously-planned business ventures, backed by a strong vision and fired with enthusiasm.
Undoubtedly, you have seen some of your colleagues take the plunge to swim to shores of glory. Should you too? We help you to decide whether this hype is really your type.
A jack of all trades?
Working for a start-up will test your mettle and throw challenges at you for which you have to be ready. Often role boundaries are blurred in start-ups and your job may extend well beyond your job description as it reads on paper. You will also not just follow, but set the culture of the company. You could have a much larger say in the decision-making process. For some, this means a world of exciting possibilities with new things to be learnt. For others, this is just too much work.
Work becomes family
While this is not restricted only to them, start-ups on average, clock in longer hours with lesser holidays. As employees work to build a new venture, the team is usually a tightly knit one, small but strong. This culture is not exactly for those who have large home responsibilities to shoulder. Expect work-life balance to be a casualty.
Lone ranger or not?
Most start-ups are devoid of structured corporate processes and hierarchies. While this means a great deal of flexibility, the lack of structure and formal processes might be difficult to adjust to for those used to the hierarchies of the corporate world. In the early days, there might not be any brains to pick or enough hands to manage work loads. A General Manager in a start-up will have to take up some tasks which conventionally is not found in the job description. But as they say, fire makes gold shine brighter.
Quick growth, non-financially
Professional growth is quick at a start-up once the business picks up. As one of the core members of the team, you often get to define the role you want as per your strengths. However, as money is put to better use in business expansion and investments, employee benefits are not too many. This is taken care of eventually or once a start-up secures VC funding – that’s when the money matches industry standards.
Not all those who start-up, grow
The grim reality is that many exciting start-ups often don’t see their fourth birthday. It would be wise to do your own research about the feasibility of an idea and understand whether it would grow in to a sustainable and long-lasting business venture. It would also be a good idea to find out more about the founders and their credentials. Kunal Bahl, for instance, worked with Microsoft before he quit to found Snapdeal, while Praveen Sinha of Jabong worked for almost 10 years with Maruti Suzuki Ltd. These two start-ups have proved immensely successful in a market where more than 65% of new ventures fold up in their first year of operations. Last but not the least; have a plan B in place, just in case.
So what is your call, to start-up or not to?